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www.wmfd.com - Worthington Township Trustee Clark Swank was forced out of office for allegations residents say are common place in the township.

   
 
 
Rumors Of Corruption In Worthington Township

Story By: Brian Skowronski

 

 

 
 
 
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Wednesday evening, Worthington Township was unable to hold its regularly scheduled trustees meeting due to lack of a quorum, leaving many residents in attendance eager for answers.

Moments before Wednesdays meeting, township trustee Gary Smith resigned from his position after nearly 20 years of service, citing his battle with stage-4 cancer as the reason in a hand-written letter to the trustees. Area residents speculated that Smith simply didn't want to deal with the aftermath left by former trustee Clark Swank.

On June 26, Swank, who had served as a trustee for more than 20 years, was removed from office for allegedly stealing over $4,000 worth of diesel fuel from the township. Swank says he had permission to use the townships fuel as part of a "gentleman's agreement" with former trustee Dale Pore.

An agreement that was not recorded at a public meeting and therefore invalid, but township residents say this kind of business has been going on for a long time and that Swank is certainly not alone in the exploitation.

"Everything's been run like this for years," according to Worthington Township resident Wally Meyer. "Townships go by their word."

Meyer says that a handshake typically indicates a business agreement in the township and believes Swank has been "railroaded" by local government officials through use of the law. Swank is currently awaiting a ruling on his pending legal case from Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese.

Many other residents in the township agree with Meyer and are upset that Swank was forced out of his position.

"As far as I'm concerned, Clark's irreplaceable," says Jamie Jamison, resident of Worthington Township.

Jamison added that a number of things are typically left out of the minutes at township meetings. The same goes for a pair of township employees, according to Jamison, who says they don't fill out time sheets and have "no accountability".

Meyer believes there is a large amount of scrap wood and metal collected by the township that goes unaccounted for, with no record of sale or storage. And these are just a few of the pressing issues residents sought answers for at Wednesday's meeting, but will have to wait two more weeks for any resolution.

The next Worthington Township Trustees meeting is scheduled for 7 pm on July 23, but with Roger Oswalt as the only remaining trustee and two needed for a quorum, it may be a while before residents get their answers.

   
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