ELYRIA TWP. — Don Bates resigned from his job as executive director of the Lorain County Veterans Service Commission on Tuesday, a day before he was supposed to attend a predisciplinary hearing to answer for 19 counts of alleged misconduct.
Bates has been on paid leave since August after the Veterans Services Commission board rescinded its decision to fire him from the job he’s held since 2008. The commission had fired Bates before realizing that because he also served as a veteran service officer he couldn’t be terminated without cause.
The resignation takes effect Saturday, according to a letter Bates sent to the commission. In the letter he detailed his 20 years with the U.S. Air Force and the time he spent working for the Disabled American Veterans before taking he was hired in Lorain County.
Matt Dooley, Bates’ attorney, said his client’s decision not to fight the allegations leveled against him shouldn’t be viewed as an admission he did anything improper.
“He knows that he didn’t do anything wrong, but he doesn’t want to put his friends and family through this process,” Dooley said.
Veterans Services Commission Chairman Bob Childers, who is currently handling the day-to-day operations of the agency, and other board members have declined to discuss the allegations against Bates. Childers did not return a call seeking comment on the resignation.
The documents notifying Bates of the predisciplinary hearing stated he was accused of accepting cash from local veterans organizations in exchange for providing services and then awarding himself compensatory time off and charging Veterans Services for mileage on those same days.
He also was accused of improperly managing his employees’ time off, improperly awarding excessive comp time for employees who took an eight-hour Internet training course and “throwing a temper tantrum” when confronted about the comp time issues.
The documents also accused Bates of giving away county-owned computers and failing to respond to requests for service or follow through on some of his responsibilities. He also was accused of not adequately staffing his office on several occasions, including while he and his staff attended training in Atlantic City, N.J., and for renting a car at a cost of $924.24 to drive to Atlantic City.
He also was accused of insubordination for refusing to give Childers a computer password and ignoring orders not to have any contact with the Lorain County commissioners, with whom he has previously sparred.
Bates also allegedly deleted computer data and emails from his county-owned computer after he was put on leave.
Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes said Bates’ resignation ends the administrative investigation into his tenure at Veterans Services. Innes said he isn’t aware of an ongoing criminal investigation into Bates.
Dooley said Bates, who didn’t return a call Tuesday, was disappointed with how his career with Veterans Services ended.
“He’s disappointed that the commissioners took the position that they did, but he wants to move forward and keep working with veterans,” Dooley said.
In his resignation letter, Bates wrote that he was proud of the work he did, particularly for increasing federal spending on local veterans.
“But most importantly, I’ve enjoyed my time working one on one with our veterans to ensure they receive fair treatment given their commitment to our country,” Bates wrote.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.