Hilliard City Council President Albert Iosue has responded to Hilliard Division of Police Chief Bobby Fisher concerning council members’ intent in launching an inquiry into the police investigation prosecution of former Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department deputy director Heather Ernst.
The police investigation ended with Ernst’s conviction of theft in office in October.
Iosue said his Jan. 27 letter is in response to Fisher’s Jan. 22 letter in which Fisher wrote: “Given the misinformation that I am hearing being circulated, I believe it appropriate to provide the details of this investigation and a timeline to you, and our community, to ensure transparency.”
He said he sent the letter to Fisher without it being seen by other council members because Fisher’s letter “was sent directly to me, so I responded.”
Here is a summary of Iosue’s letter:
“As president of Hilliard City Council, I can assure you that City Council is not investigating the work product of the HPD, nor are we making false accusations, attacking the integrity of the police department, nor trying to undermine the efforts of the HPD,” Iosue wrote.
He said he is “proud” the investigation resulted in a guilty plea from Ernst without cause for a trial and that restitution would assist the city in recovering funds.
But in December 2017, City Council received information from “a former police officer” regarding the investigation of Ernst and, as a result, City Council “has a fiduciary responsibility to substantiate the accuracy of that information.” (That former police officer has been identified by council Vice President Kelly McGivern as Curtis Baker, who is deputy chief of the Reynoldsburg Division of Police and worked in Hilliard from 1999 to April 2017.)
“For that reason only, Hilliard City Council requested a timeline” that police could not provide during the investigation, and City Council “decided to wait until the conclusion of the investigation before taking additional action regarding this information,” Iosue wrote. “I hope you understand that the hiring of outside legal counsel ... should in no way reflect negatively on you or the HPD, but was necessary on behalf of Hilliard City Council to conduct our due diligence based on the information we were provided.
“City Council has an obligation to take information seriously whenever provided, and to determine the accuracy and truthfulness of such information before taking action.”