October 1, 2014

Elyria
Fog
58°F
test

Lorain Street Department super fired after guilty plea

LORAIN — Chuck Camera was fired Tuesday from his job as Lorain Street Department superintendent.

Camera

The firing comes in the wake of Camera’s guilty pleas last month to misdemeanor charges of stealing money from Lorain Youth Baseball while he served as league president.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said a disciplinary hearing for Camera, 57, led to findings of immoral conduct, dishonesty, discourteous treatment of the public and pleading guilty to a theft charge. Camera also pleaded guilty to four counts each of tampering with records and records to be kept for four years in the baseball case.

The case was unrelated to Camera’s city employment, but Ritenauer said public officials are held to a higher standard and the conduct outside their city jobs can have consequences.

“When looking at the totality of it, we believe it rose to the level of termination,” Ritenauer said. “Overall, it’s failure of the public trust.”

Camera could not be reached Tuesday and his attorney, Jack Bradley, did not return a call seeking comment.

But during his court appearance last month, in which he was given a suspended four-month jail sentence, two years of good behavior and agreed to repay the league $10,000, Camera said he was ultimately responsible for making certain that the league’s tip ticket sales were handled properly.

“It was also my responsibility to make sure all monies were collected properly and deposited properly, and I failed to do so, and because of this I’m paying the money that was requested of me,” he said during the March hearing.

Police and prosecutors argued that Camera stole money from the tip ticket receipts he collected from two Lorain bars.

Camera fell under suspicion after he stepped down as league president in 2008 and his successors discovered discrepancies in the organization’s books.

Bradley, however, has said managing the tip tickets and keeping the league’s financial records were simply beyond Camera’s abilities. He has said he doesn’t believe Camera intended to steal any money.

Camera had remained on the job throughout the investigation and after he was charged, but Ritenauer said after he was convicted, Camera was put on leave.

Ritenauer said Camera worked for the city for more than 30 years and likely can begin drawing retirement benefits, but he said that under the city’s service rules, Camera also can appeal his firing. Ritenauer said the city has not yet named a permanent replacement for Camera.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.