Morgan Twp holding special Saturday meeting amid investigations into top official/fire chief

Madison Township resident Mike Dye (standing at podium) makes several accusations including...
Madison Township resident Mike Dye (standing at podium) makes several accusations including double pay about Township Administrator and Fire Chief Jeff Galloway at the trustee meeting on Monday, Sept. 12.(YouTube)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 10:36 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 11:15 AM EST
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MORGAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - Elected leaders of a small Butler County community whose top administrative official/fire chief is under multiple investigations are holding a special public meeting this weekend.

Morgan Township Trustees will go behind closed doors in an executive session at 9 a.m. Saturday “to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official,” according to the public notice.

Local and state authorities all launched three separate investigations in September after a resident accused Morgan Township Administrator/Fire Chief Jeff Galloway of being double paid for hurricane deployment and nepotism.

The investigations are ongoing by the Special Investigations Unit at the State Auditor’s Office, Butler County Prosecutor’s office and the Ohio Ethics Commission, FOX19 NOW has confirmed.

“Our Special Investigations Unit is continuing its investigation. We have no further comment at this time on this continuing investigation,” a spokesman for State Auditor’s Office said Friday.

Morgan Township Trustee President Tom Brucker says he and the other two trustees plan to take official action when they emerge from their executive session Saturday.

He said they would be voting on a resolution but declined to elaborate: “That is about all I can say but I was advised by the Prosecutor’s Office that the media will more than likely be attending this meeting.”

Galloway has not been charged with any crimes.

He declined to comment when the allegations against him were first announced during a township meeting last fall.

His attorney declined to comment Thursday night.

Galloway is still employed by the township but hasn’t been at work all week, Brucker confirmed when we asked Friday.

He said Galloway’s last day at work was on Thursday, Dec. 1.

“He said he isn’t feeling well that is why he hasn’t been to work,’ Brucker responded.

Galloway, who is paid $93,000 a year for his dual roles, usually doesn’t work on Fridays anyway, according to Brucker: “His normal schedule is four 10-hour days Monday-Thursday.”

Trustees have left Galloway on the job since the allegations were made in September.

Galloway’s contract expires at the end of the month.

Brucker said employment contracts are renewed at the last township meeting of the month. This year, that will be on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Galloway was hired as an assistant administrator in 2015. In 2017, he also became the township’s administrator and fire chief.

Prior to that, he served as the director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency from 2009 to 2015.

The township hired an outside attorney to investigate allegations about Galloway at the advice of its legal counsel, Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, Brucker has said.

Township trustees were most recently briefed by them on the status of the outside investigation in late November but Brucker declined to tell us what they were told behind closed doors.

FOX19 NOW interviewed Brucker Tuesday, one day before the special Saturday meeting was announced.

He gave no hints about the meeting at that time but did clearly indicate he was eager to get the results of the township’s outside investigation and this behind them.

“It’s like the elephant in the room,” Brucker said. “We want to get rid of it. It’s like residents keep coming to the meetings thinking they are going to get an answer. That’s the worst thing. You want to keep transparency, the worst thing you can do is to keep telling people you have no report, you have nothing to report on. They think we are hiding things and we are not. I just want to get it all out in the open and move on.”

The township left Galloway on the job over the past three months amid the investigations because he hasn’t been criminally charged, Brucker said.

“I’ve been asked that many times in open meetings,” he said. “I’ve said ‘we’ve got a trustee in Madison Township that has been indicted and he’s still there. We have a county auditor that has been indicted and not only is he still in office but he ran and won the election. Jeff Galloway has not been indicted on anything.

“The other thing that is the biggest factor: If I send him home and put him on administrative leave, would have to pay him and the public would be outraged if we paid him $93,000 a year to sit at home and do nothing.”

Galloway is the third public official in Butler County to be accused of wrongdoing in the past year and a half.

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds and Madison Township Trustee Alan Daniel were both indicted in separate corruption cases this year.

Reynolds’ criminal trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday with jury selection.

Daniel’s case is set for a trial or plea setting at the same time but in a different courtroom at the Butler County Government Services building in downtown Hamilton.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Galloway has remained mum publicly since resident Kevin Dye, showed up unexpectedly at the township’s Sept. 12 trustee meeting and accused him of being double paid and nepotism.

“We were totally blindsided,” Brucker told FOX19 after the meeting.

Dye said on Sept. 12 Galloway was paid his regular salary and also received pay the township was reimbursed by the state of Louisiana when Galloway was deployed by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency to help with Hurricane Ida in August 2021.

Dye gave the township copies of their own documents including one signed by Galloway’s wife, Penny Galloway, on an invoice that went to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for $22,309.

Galloway’s wife works as a captain in the fire department that he oversees.

She is continuing to work for the township and has not missed any of her shifts, Brucker said Friday.

The township paid Galloway’s salary up front, received the reimbursement last month and it was deposited into the fire fund, according to township records released to FOX19 NOW and Brucker.

“You received a salary, you claimed that salary with a government agency you basically were paid twice,” Dye told Galloway on Sept. 12.

Galloway received his regular bi-weekly paychecks for $2,557 for Sept. 5 through Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 through Oct. 2 as usual, and another direct deposit for $5,313 for hourly and overtime wages for the first pay period and $3,456 net for the second, according to records presented to the township by Dye that was released to FOX19 NOW by Brucker after we gave him a public records request.

Galloway was in Louisiana from Sept. 10-24, 2021, and worked a total of 88 regular hours and 138 overtime, the records show.

Galloway wasn’t the only township employee deployed to Hurricane Ida.

Firefighter Tony Shroyer was as well, but Shroyer’s time was properly reimbursed, Brucker said.

Galloway, on the other hand, took his paycheck, his salary and then turned in the time sheets for both straight and overtime when he was only eligible for overtime, not both straight time and overtime, Brucker confirmed.

Galloway told Dye during the meeting he took comp or vacation time.

The township, however, has no documentation of Galloway taking comp or vacation time, according to Brucker.

Dye has declined to talk to FOX19 NOW.

“Thank you for the message,” he responded back in September, “but I can’t comment on an open criminal investigation by the State Auditors Office and the Ohio Ethics Commission.”

When the allegations first arose, Brucker said the township supported Galloway. Brucker said he wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But, he added, that could change if any part of the allegations proved true.

“If anything results out of the investigation negatively then, yes, we will definitely hold him accountable and he’ll have to deal with the consequences. I hope it doesn’t go there but that’s where we are at,” Brucker said in September.

He also acknowledged that he was not happy at all to see Galloway’s wife’s signature on her husband’s invoice.

That should have been signed by the township’s fiscal clerk, not Galloway’s wife, Brucker told us.

It’s still not clear, at least to FOX19 NOW, why Galloway’s wife signed the document.

All other invoices related to other deployments of Galloway were signed by the fiscal clerk, Brucker told us back in September.

Earlier this week, Brucker said a review of the records since September found one other case, in 2017, where Galloway was overpaid for a deployment.

That was the fault of the fiscal clerk, not Galloway, he said.

“He was deployed on a Thursday and she paid him three days of straight time and then had to take it back,” Brucker said. “She admitted she made a mistake.”

Brucker said she immediately began to withhold a portion of his paychecks until all the money was repaid.

Galloway did reach out to the Ohio Ethics Commission in December 2016 and self-reported that his wife is employed by the Morgan Township Fire Department, state records show.

When he was hired as the fire chief, the trustees passed a resolution so his wife would report directly to Assistant Chief Jeff Griffith and he did not participate in her employment matters, Brucker said.

He said he also routinely checked with Griffith to see if there were any issues with the arrangement. He told FOX19 NOW in September there wasn’t a single one.

Last week, however, the state auditor’s office requested records on Galloway’s township-funded cell phone, according to Brucker.

“I was kind of surprised when the request came for the cell phone records. I didn’t know there was any issue there. I don’t know what they are looking for. They have a lot of Verizon phone bills. They really have not told us what they are looking at.”

Galloway’s township-funded cell phone number is listed as his point of contact on the website of his consulting business, FOX19 NOW confirmed back in October. That number remains his point of contact on the website as of Friday. It’s the number FOX19 NOW has reached him on in the past for breaking news and to request comment for these stories.

The website states: “Jeff Galloway is owner and founder of Titan Global Consulting and Emergency Training Solutions. Beginning his career in South Florida in 1978, Chief Galloway has deployed across the Country to large-scale emergencies and disasters. Beginning with Hurricane Andrew he has been in the forefront of emergency response, recovery and preparedness in many roles, positions and responsibilities.”

We requested township cell phone bills, invoices and other records back in October and again requested Galloway’s specific cell phone records this week.

The township’s fiscal clerk told us their copier is not working so they were trying to get copies from the auditor’s office because no one saved a set at the township beyond the original paper ones that they cannot release now electronically.

Galloway is the only township employee with a township-funded cell phone now, Brucker said.

The road supervisor used to have a township phone and a personal cell but got tired of having two phones, according to Brucker. Now the township reimburses the road supervisor $20 per month for township calls on his personal phone.

The township doesn’t have a cell phone use policy, Brucker acknowledged, but they should probably do one.

Does he think Galloway should be using his township-funded cell phone for his personal business?

“If it’s his own business, no absolutely not,” Brucker responded. “That would have to be something we would look at. If we don’t have a cell phone policy, we can’t really dictate what he can do and can’t do.”

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