The special panel convened to decide if Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds should be suspended while he fights criminal charges has ruled he will remain in office.
“The Special Commission determines that Mr. Reynolds’ continued administration of and conduct in his public office, as covered by the charges pending against him, does not adversely affect the functioning of his office and the rights and interests of the public,” the decision released Tuesday reads. “Accordingly, Mr. Reynolds shall not be suspended from public office.”
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor received the suspension request from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Feb. 14, because Reynolds was indicted on three felony and two misdemeanor counts of bribery and using his public office for personal gain. If he is found guilty he faces up to 7 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
“Reynolds cannot be left to continue to exercise the rights and privileges as the Butler County Auditor while under indictment for misusing the authority of that very office...,” the filing reads. “To be sure, Reynolds’ alleged criminal conduct adversely affects the interests of the public. Elected officials hold offices of trust and confidence. The allegations leveled against him lay waste to the public’s expectation that elected leaders are committed to serving their constituents’ interests, and not lining their own pockets.”
Reynolds pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 15.
O’Connor was required to appoint what is called a 3.16 Special Commission, comprised of three retired judges, which she did on March 1. They were charged with making a preliminary determination on temporary suspension within 14 days.
“Whether the public official’s administration of, or conduct in the performance of the duties of, the official’s office, as covered by the charges, adversely affects the functioning of that office or adversely affects the rights and interests of the public and, as a result, whether the public official should be suspended from office.”