Second P.C. worker quits over scrap scam|Heschel, former service supervisor, was demoted to equipment operator over scrap-for-slush-fund sale

PORT CLINTON Another Port Clinton city worker resigned Thursday in the wake of investigations into missing city-owned scrap m
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

PORT CLINTON

Another Port Clinton city worker resigned Thursday in the wake of investigations into missing city-owned scrap metal.

Former Service Department Supervisor Kenneth Heschel, 47, turned in a hand-written note to Mayor Tom Brown stating, "Effective 8/30/07 at 1500 hours I resign my full-time position with the city of Port Clinton. Signed Kenneth C. Heschel."

It was not known whether Heschel chose to, or was forced to, resign.

Mayor Tom Brown and Heschel could not be reached for comment Friday.

Heschel was demoted to heavy equipment operator last week after a city investigation determined Heschel and then-Safety-Service Director Rich Babcock sold city-owned scrap metal in January with the intent to create a cash slush fund.

"I was shocked when I heard he resigned," Councilman Glenn Chapman said. "I didn't expect that at all."

Babcock resigned last week and was indicted Tuesday after Heschel gave sworn testimony in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.

Heschel was granted immunity if he testified against Babcock.

Ottawa County grand jury returned one felony count each of theft and theft in office against Babcock. Babcock's initial court appearance is set for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21.

Heschel started in the water department in 1979 and was promoted to service department supervisor in 2005. Heschel and Fred Bice shared the service department supervisor position and worked with each other for several years.

"I'm going to miss him terribly," Bice said. "Kenny's been here 27 years and we've lost it now. We've lost a huge amount of institutional knowledge."

Dennis Fligor of Catawba Island was sworn in as safety-service director Friday morning. His appointment could give the city the clean slate it needs, said Council President Linda Hartlaub.

Chapman said he also is eager for the city to move on.

"Things have happened and we have a healing process," he said.