The following is a copy of an e-mail message sent to County Administrator, Gerry Morgan, by County Auditor, Chuck Walder, regarding the incident that occurred on June 27 involving Kim Laurie, Seth Miller and then Tim Grendell. A complete story of the incident as reported by the Geauga County Maple Leaf can be found here.
From: Walder, Charles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2019 12:41 PM
To: Morgan, Gerry <GMorgan@CO.GEAUGA.OH.US>
Another Court confrontation occurred at my office on the morning of 6/27/2019 involving Kim Laurie and Seth Miller. Laurie and Miller once again disrupted the operation of my office over a period of almost three (3) hours and refused to leave the premises when repeatedly asked. Laurie and Miller repeatedly demanded meetings with various members of my staff, who were otherwise busy. I am told that Miller grabbed a packet of Auditor financial documents from the fiscal office counter and finally left our building, refusing to return them. The Chardon Police were called and after approximately one (1) hour convinced Miller to surrender our records back to my office.
Lt. Duncan of the Chardon Police then met with me and some of my staff to discuss the situation. He then went up to the Court to advise them to not return to my office again. When he arrived at the Court he was advised that Laurie and Miller were once again back down at my office causing a disturbance. Lt. Duncan escorted them out to the sidewalk and was speaking with them when Judge Grendell, wearing his robe, walked up to him and began yelling at him. My staff could observe the exchange and muffled yelling through our front windows. Lt. Duncan then came into my office, noticeably upset, and advised me that he had been threatened by the Judge. He indicated that the Judge did not want to listen to him and told him that he would issue an arrest warrant against Lt. Duncan.
I am writing you for a number of reasons:
1.) It is completely unacceptable for any County employee or elected to threaten our law enforcement officers. Our lives and our security are in their hands every day. These men and women are sworn to protect the community and face unimaginable obstacles. We should not tolerate anyone, even if they are wearing a judge’s robe, to threaten and intimidate them in the performance of their duty. I am asking the County Commissioners to consider sanctioning Judge Grendell in open session for his unacceptable behavior.
2.) As County Auditor, I cannot tolerate other County employees repeatedly coming into my office and disrupting, upsetting, or otherwise causing issues with my staff and their work. No different than at any public meeting, people that disrespect or hinder the work of the elected body are subject to removal and repeat offenders have been permanently banned from attendance.
3.) Also in my capacity as Auditor, I am charged with safeguarding and housing the financial records of the County. Absolutely everyone working under my authority is aware of our duties to insure that public records and financial documents are to remain under our control. Seth Miller is a former Auditor employee and is fully aware of the rules of evidentiary matter that the Auditor’s office has. His intentional taking of our records, stating his intent to withhold them from us, and leaving the premises with them is unacceptable and criminal theft. We cannot permit a “mulligan” for this irresponsible act. His intentional action must carry consequences and should not serve as an empowerment for continued escalation of the Court’s bad behavior.
4.) Lastly, I am asking for the Commissioners to immediately provide a Sheriff’s deputy for my fiscal office for the short term. I met with all employees today and every one of them expressed serious concern for their safety and security and fear that the Court will continue to escalate their bad behavior. I would like to propose a rather simple and inexpensive plan to modify the fiscal entrance to secure it from visitors simply walking into the office. I have a meeting scheduled with Glenn next week to discuss. I ask for your support on this initiative. Our employees are our largest and most important asset, without a fiscal staff I cannot pay the County’s bills.
Should you or the Commissioners wish to discuss these matters, I will make myself available.