XENIA — A Greene County commissioner March 14 said he will return two emergency radios to the county after a public request by the board president.
Commissioner Bob Glaser admitted to having the radios in his possession in order to monitor the system.
“What I use the radios for is basically to listen, primarily in my house and also in my garage, just to the calls to see where they were or weren’t getting out or if they were having problems recognizing it,” he said. “I think I had the radios on yesterday, at least one out in my garage.”
The request comes after the board decided County Administrator Brandon Huddleson needed to have access to a Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) radio to coordinate emergency response in case of natural disaster. After Huddleson received a $4,900 quote for one Motorola unit, he was informed Glaser already had two in his possession.
Commissioner Tom Koogler said Glaser, when asked on more than one occasion, refused to return the radios.
“As elected officials, we have the responsibility to be transparent. We also need to be held to the same legal standard as every other citizen in our county,” Koogler said, addressing Glaser at the regular Thursday meeting.
Glaser agreed to return the radios in good working condition to the county administrator’s office by 12 p.m. Friday, March 15.
Officials said Greene County and Motorola entered into an agreement in 2012 for the purchase of radios, which appear on the county’s inventory list for which monthly user fees are incurred. According to Motorola, the two radios were acquired for testing and were left with the county at no charge at the end of the radio project.
“The radios were given to me by Motorola to monitor our radio system when we put the radio system in Greene County. We replaced an existing system with an all-Motorola system and initially we had some problems with regards to reception,” Glaser responded. “The radios were provided to me by Motorola to monitor the system to find out where and when we had problems.”
However, an email from Joe Tee, area sales manager for Motorola, stated, “neither Motorola nor P&R gave Bob Glaser two radios for his personal use or to keep as his own.”
Glaser said his involvement in the county’s radio system started when he was a township trustee and continued as commissioner. He said he is simply concerned with the safety of emergency responders.
“You put a police officer in a cruiser and he’s in that cruiser by himself and he goes out on a call and once he leaves that cruiser, the only tie he has back to call for additional help is through his handheld radio … If something is not working or that handheld doesn’t get through, he needs help, he’s basically stranded,” Glaser said. “I think it’s important that we have a class-A communication system and I’ve worked hard over the years to make sure we have one and that it continues to work. That has been my motivation to basically continue to monitor the system.”
Koogler responded, “You do not have authority to make yourself the self-appointed inspector. That should be a decision made by this board.”
Koogler said a complaint would be filed with authorities to recover the radios if Glaser failed to return them. Commissioner Dick Gould suggested the incident be filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission before judgments are made.
“We’re just asking for the radios back, Dick. That’s all,” Koogler responded.
Glaser conceded once more.
“That’s fine, I’ll turn them back in. You can have the radios,” he said. “But somebody needs to monitor the system to make sure we don’t have the problems that we have had in the past.”