Sheila McLaughlin reports:
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser threatened charges of obstructing official business against Commissioner Cindy Carpenter if she doesn’t stop interfering in children services cases.
He also accused her of trying to bully Children Services Director Jerome Kearns into doing what she wanted involving the case of a homeless pregnant woman who was living under the High Street bridge in Hamilton.
She told him to fire all of his top managers and said she wasn’t happy with Kearns’ performance, according to a transcript of the recorded call that Gmoser handed out to commissioners and reporters.
The issue came to a head at a heated Butler County commissioner’s meeting Monday. Gmoser asked commissioners to pass a resolution that directors of county agencies would be disciplined if they took direction from Carpenter.
Now, commissioners said they will hold hearings to determine what changes need to be made at the children services agency.
“If you persist in doing it having been fully apprised of the consequences, I don’t want the public to be surprised if I ask for a special prosecutor along the way to consider criminal conduct by you with respect to your interference of agencies in this county,” Gmoser said.
Carpenter, who has been accused of bullying employees since being elected in 2011, said she didn’t do anything wrong and she was only trying to coordinate services for the woman by enlisting other agencies to provide what Butler County wouldn’t.
She said it took the woman, whose other children have been removed from her care, seven trips to Butler County Job and Family Services to get food stamps. Kearns also heads Butler County Job and Family Services.
Gmoser said Carpenter’s involvement has caused a court-appointed attorney for the woman to quit and for a visiting judge to be appointed at Butler County’s expense “because of the meddling and interference of Commissioner Carpenter in a private case that she has no business sticking her nose into.”
“She is a commissioner first. She cannot be Florence Nightingale or Mother Theresa,” Gmoser said.