October 30, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Worker investigated for allegedly taking scaffolding

ELYRIA — For the second time this year, a Lorain County maintenance worker is under investigation for allegedly taking county property without permission.

A letter informing Richard Reiman of a disciplinary hearing, which took place last week, stated that he was accused of leaving work without permission June 20 after removing scaffolding. He also is accused of improperly using a county truck to move the scaffolding and dishonesty.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said the investigation showed that Reiman took the scaffolding from the Lorain County Justice Center on June 20. He returned it to the county’s carpentry shop June 26 after his supervisor began asking where it was.

In an unrelated incident, maintenance worker Joe Renaldo resigned last month after falling under scrutiny for allegedly stealing scrap metal from county buildings and selling it to local scrap yards. Although Renaldo resigned before a disciplinary hearing, he remains under criminal investigation.

Cordes said he doesn’t believe Reiman’s case will turn into a criminal probe because the scaffolding was returned. He said the commissioners won’t make a decision on what, if any, punishment Reiman will receive until the hearing officers completes a report on his findings.

County sheriff’s Capt. Jim Drozdowski wrote in a statement that Reiman and other county workers didn’t acknowledge knowing where the scaffolding was during a June 26 meeting he and county Facilities Director Karen Davis held to discuss the missing scaffolding and a leaf blower that also couldn’t be accounted for.

During that same meeting, Drozdowski wrote, no one admitted to knowing who had put nails up against the tires of Renaldo’s truck.

In his own written statement, Reiman wrote that he had taken the scaffolding to the county Records Center to use to check on a leak and returned it after the meeting.

According to the documents provided by the county, Reiman closed out the work order for the leak on June 19, a day before surveillance video shows him loading the scaffolding onto a truck at the Justice Center. Another county worker wrote in a statement that Reiman had asked him to help load the scaffolding.

Reiman did not respond to a request for comment made through the union, but United Steelworkers Local 8845 President Don Kovacs said he is aware of the general nature of the allegations against his co-worker.

He said he doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of the situation and is awaiting the same report as the commissioners.

“We’re going to represent him and try to get the best possible outcome,” Kovacs said.

This isn’t the first time Reiman has faced possible discipline during his tenure with the county.

He was suspended for 30 days in 2008 for hanging a noose in the Maintenance Department, where it was seen by a black co-worker, who took offense. Reiman later said he made a mistake.

Reiman was placed on paid leave in 2009 for allegedly threatening to shoot the commissioners, although he was allowed to return to work after Commissioner Ted Kalo and then-Commissioner Betty Blair concluded it was Reiman’s word against that of another county worker.

Reiman was reprimanded last year for bringing a gun to work and leaving it in his personal vehicle. The gun was later stolen from Reiman’s truck.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • bigmacky

    unions – gotta love them for protecting sub-par workers – poor taste (the noose) threats (shooting people) law violation (gun at work – and the kicker – it was stolen) – if he worked anywhere else – he would have been let go at the first offense.

    • tickmeoff

      Non-union…gotta love them. Work 20 years, get up in pay scale. Get let go, not to job performance, but due to cost cutting by bringing in somebody 20 to 30 years younger than you. Now that you’ve been cut loose, nobody wants you because you are too old and they can hire a younger worker. Be happy you are working period old man. Forget that 70 to 100, 000 you used to make. Welcome to the world of food stamps and driving 20 year old cars. The other older worker who is union is putting away money for retirement, you the non-union worker are working for minimum wage and surviving. Business is about the bottom line, and if it’s you, too bad for your luck buddy. That’s what you get for working a non-union job.

      • todd

        Exact kinda BS that all Union lackeys spew. Unions were great 100 years ago when they were needed during the industrial era. Now they just protect lazy and entitled just like our Federal Government. Forget having to earn things with a good clean work record, now you earn them by being part of something such as welfare or a union.

        • Pablo Jones

          Union members are trained and produce high quality work. Perfect example is the union installed roof of the new EHS that has been leaking from almost the day it was installed.

        • whobeboo

          Todd, go tell those 29 widows and their families who lost loved ones in the Massey coal mine disaster how they didn’t need no stinkin union.

          • sunnysunday

            Those 29 widows and their families might be offended that you are using their situation—which is nowhere near comparable—to insert into an argument about a well-paid worker that “borrows” publicly owned and funded tools.

      • HankKwah

        Business is about the bottom line,

        Duh. It’s always about the bottom line. Liberals never get that. They always seem to think it’s about the worker. You want it to be about the worker? YOU open the business and then YOU pay the employees what YOU WANTED TO MAKE, to make it fair. See how long you keep your doors open when you’re NOT watching the bottom line.

      • Bill Love

        you’re so full of crap I’m not un the Union have a nice retirement set up and I’ll be retired in 10 years

      • Otter

        That was sarcasm…right?

      • Pablo Jones

        Non-union – Pay increases due to performance (I’ve made more money nearly every year I’ve worked). Don’t like the job or pay able to go to another job that you like and pays better without having to worry about seniority. You have to ability to make sure you aren’t on the bottom when costs have to be cut. If you have experience, skills and ability it doesn’t matter how old you are you can always find work. Save your own money for retirement and you won’t be stuck working for a company you don’t like because you have a pension there. Have your own money and you won’t have to worry about losing your pension if the company goes belly up.

        If you are driving a 20 year old car, it probably wasn’t union built. If you want to save money drive your car as long as you can. Currently averaging 15 years & 200+k miles on my cars.

      • Joe Smith

        Unions ( Hostess) putting companies out of biz and everybody loses their job putting them on food stamps and not even being able to afford a 20 year old car.

    • Summer Smart

      government jobs in general all protect sub-par workers…look around. I’m sure all local governments experience the same thing, but because they are run by “elected officials” on the system for the benefits alone, it is ignored. drive by the township garages and watch the workers driving away with stuff in their pick up trucks they loaded while on the job (because they have nothing better to do). I bet a lot of our tax dollars are going home to these sub par workers in more ways than wasted wages.

      • Seeker

        You are 100% correct , it makes me wonder how much of this is going on in the city of Elyria.

  • todd

    Awesome job UNIONS. Gee I wonder why you get a bad name. Probably because you help bums like this guy keep their job. It’s embarrassing.

    • Seeker

      Wait till this guy comes back and shoots the place up , its not like the writing is not on the wall .

  • Edward Nonamaker

    Why not just ask your supervisor if you could borrow it for a few days…..? I am sure it would not have been a problem . Just a thought .

    • HankKwah

      But…but…but…what if he says, (gasp!) no?? Then I’ll have to sneak it out. Oh, wait……

    • BrownEyedGirl

      Borrow scaffolding that I helped pay for with my tax dollars? Then I want to borrow county equipment and supplies, too, since my tax dollars helped pay for them all.

      • Edward Nonamaker

        Really ? Anyone who has a job private or public has at one time borrowed something from work that someone else has paid for and has returned it after a few days , saying you have not in your lifetime is a lie . This is not a union thing , an employee used a piece of equipment without permission , he should be punished for his actions , plain and simple.

        • BrownEyedGirl

          Touchy tonight, aren’t we?

          • Edward Nonamaker

            No not touchy , I am just saying that if he would have received approval to borrow the equipment in question this would not be a story , I am the first one to question tax dollars and the mis-use of them as well as the public unions and the way they continue to allow issues like this to exist , but in all reality if this story is the biggest situation or problem facing the local Government of Lorain county then this area must be doing just great , (SARCASM INTENDED OF COURSE ) .

          • stillsleepyeyes

            Yep its a witch hunt, it just so happens this person has brought it all on himself……………

  • bigmacky

    if they were making 70-100k a year then its pure greed or living beyond means – _ I am not an “old man” I make a decent wage- 45k a year- and I (like many) am tired of the double democrat standards. look around – HOW MANY DOUBLE DIPPERS are living off the taxpayer teat in this county alone????

  • tommyp

    Union or no union, this guy seems like a loose cannon a disaster. Just. Waiting. To happen.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Sounds like that department needs management and a house cleaning over there. nooses, theft, what else is going on ? Is the Mayors office looking into the assets of Elyria disappearing and this horrible work ethic.

    • sunnysunday

      He is a County worker and the equipment and property in question belongs to the County. How is this the responsibility of the mayor?

      • 2Cents

        Who does the County belong to and who does the Mayor work for?

  • Tonythetiger

    Unions have nothing to do with this, they have a responsibility to represent. this guy is trash, always has been… No Betty Blair to bail his butt out any longer and no longer a member of the Blair family… He is a real piece of work and is a prime example of why good public workers get a bad rap… Should have been fired many times but slipped away due to connections… Let’s see what happens now…… You got it coming Rick… About time….