by Marty Trese,
MOUNT VERNON – Mount Vernon Police Captain George Hartz became the acting Chief of Police Friday after Chief Mike Merillees was placed on administrative leave. Sergeant Robert Morgan was also placed on leave.
Todays’ actions by the city come about a month after the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation began an investigation, along with the Ohio Ethics Commission, into allegations of misconduct by Merrilees and Morgan. City Law Director Chip McConville told KnoxPages.com that he and Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher requested the investigation based on activity at the city impound lot and a police auction brought to their attention by Samantha Scoles, Managing Editor of the Mount Vernon News.
KnoxPages.com spoke with City Council member Mike Hillier to get his reaction to the news about Merrilees and Morgan. “I’m glad we have a third party investigating this and the sooner we can get to the end of all this the better the city of Mount Vernon will be,” said Hillier.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office, said BCI and the Ohio Ethics Commission will turn over their findings to McConville and Thatcher. KnoxPages.com checked on the status of the investigation with Attorney General’s office spokesman Dan Tierney this week, who said the “investigation is ongoing.”