Sandusky patrol post commander wants to step down

SANDUSKY The fallout from a KKK prank at the Ohio State High Patrol's Sandusky post continues.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

The fallout from a KKK prank at the Ohio State High Patrol's Sandusky post continues.

Lt. Greg Greggila, Sandusky post commander for nearly 14 years, has requested voluntary demotion to sergeant and a transfer to the Fremont post, patrol spokesman Sgt. Craig Cvetan said.

Greggila made the request April 17 via an inner-office communication to the patrol's human resource management office. He did not state in the request why he wanted the demotion or transfer, Cvetan said.

The human resource management office processed the request Friday, Cvetan said. It now goes up the "chain of command" to the office of the Ohio Department of Public Safety director Henry Guzman. Guzman's office will make the decision whether to accept or reject Greggila's request, Cvetan said.

Greggila did not return a call seeking comment on Friday.

Greggila took over the job of Sandusky post commander in November 1994, when he was promoted to lieutenant and transferred from the Bowling Green post, Cvetan said.

Greggila is still Sandusky post commander until Guzman makes a decision on the request, Cvetan said.

Two troopers, Eric E. Wlodarsky and Craig T. Franklin, are on paid administrative leave facing termination for their roles in the incident. Franklin dressed up in a makeshift KKK-like outfit while on duty at the post on Jan. 20 and Wlodarsky, who was a sergeant at the time and also on duty, snapped Franklin's picture with a camera phone.

Investigators were sent a copy of the picture. Both troopers were recommended for termination following an investigation, but were allowed to retain their jobs because of an abeyance agreement provided in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. On Tuesday, Gov. Ted Strickland ordered Guzman and Col. Richard Collins, superintendent of the highway patrol, to "immediately begin proceedings to terminate the employment," of Wlodarsky and Franklin.

A hearing for the two troopers is scheduled for Tuesday. A lawyer for the Ohio State Troopers Association said Strickland overstepped his authority and had no right to order the troopers' termination.

"We have a signed agreement, and the governor had no authority to do what he did," Elaine Silveria said. Silveria is the assistant general counsel for the Ohio State Troopers Association.

Strickland's decision came just days after the Sandusky chapter of the NAACP called for the firing of Franklin and Wlodarsky during a meeting with Collins April 18 at the Sandusky post.

Franklin and Wlodarsky both said the picture was taken as a joke and was inspired by a skit by comedian Dave Chappelle. Wlodarsky sent the photo to another trooper, Sgt. Jason P. Demuth. Demuth then sent the picture to a dispatcher in Toledo. Demuth was disciplined for not reporting the picture to a supervisor.