CODE members vote new Board President to replace Frey

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Days after being indicted and removed as the President of Cincinnati's Organized and Dedicated Employees (CODE), Diana Frey has been replaced.

Frey was indicted last week, accused of embezzling $757,000 from CODE over the last 6 years.

If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Tuesday night, the 800-plus city workers voted to remove Frey as the President of CODE's Board of Directors and replace her with Don Stiens.

Members hope he can tackle the mountain of damage control ahead.

"She was at the top of the food chain, now she's at the bottom," said CODE Second Vice President Jeff Ventre, as he described the now ousted Diana Frey.

"I think that her last name will tell what's gonna happen to her," said another member who did not want to give her name after the vote. "I'm just concerned about CODE going forward and what's in the best interests of me and my colleagues."

And the man who gets to inherit the mess Frey left behind?

"Our new President for CODE is Don Stiens," said Ventre, who painted Stiens as a strong personality who can rally the troops.

He works for the City in the Department of Transportation Engineering, with a military and legal background.

"This issue has not only taken money," said CODE member Theresa Shook. "It's taken our dignity and CODE is better than that."

"CODE as a group has to resurrect pride," Ventre said. "I think Don's going to do a fantastic job, he certainly has a lot of work in front of him."

Ventre said he is disappointed that only 65 of their roughly 800 members showed-up.

"I feel confident that CODE will get a majority of the money coming back to them that they, that was taken," he said.

"With a Board for this length of time, how somebody could not ask a question, that's the hardest thing I'm trying to comprehend," said CODE member John Ridder.

A new committee was formed Tuesday night to look at their bylaws and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Ventre was asked what he'd say to Frey if he could see her right now.

"You know, that's a good question," he said. "I don't know what I'd say to her, I really don't, I feel sorry for her...I've worked for the City long enough to know that yelling only gets you in trouble further on down the line. But I really want to know why, why would you do this to a group that you loved?"

Ventre spoke on-behalf of CODE after their vote. He said Stiens didn't want to talk on-camera, because he had just come from work and didn't feel like he looked presentable.

Diana Frey is due in-court later this week.

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