YOUNGSTOWN — “Disappointing day for me,” Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann said, reflecting on the firing of his so-called “top cop” Rick Alli.
“He was double dipping and we terminated him, that’s it,” Dann said. “As far as I know there’s nothing else.”
The Ohio Ethics Commission is investigating Alli remaining on the Youngstown Police Department payroll while also collecting a paycheck from the AG’s office. Dann said he doesn’t know if the conduct is criminal, that’s something for the ethics commission to decide, adding it wouldn’t be appropriate for his agency to investigate itself.
Dann hired Alli, 52, a YPD officer for 31 years, in January. An anonymous tipster, in street parlance, “dropped a dime” on Alli this week.
“We found out about [the double dipping] and the minute we verified it we terminated him,” Dann said, adding he doesn’t know who called.
City Prosecutor Jay Macejko said there are two options when someone resigns or retires — stay on the payroll until vacation and sick time is exhausted or take a lump sum. If on the payroll, you can’t take another state job, he said.
When asked if it was just stupidity on Alli’s part, Dann said: “I have no idea. Look, I trusted Rick. I always had a great deal of respect for him and I’m heart broken about it. The fact that he would put me in that position is very disappointing.”
Did Alli have an explanation for the double dipping? “Not that I’m aware of,” Dann said.
“He was disappointed but it went smoothly,” Dann said of the termination. The attorney general declined to say what Alli told him during their conversation, citing the confidential ethics investigation.
“My reaction, I was disappointed and heart-broken. I had a lot of confidence and enthusiasm for what Rick was going to do with the law enforcement community in the state and I’m sorry that this happened,” Dann said.
He said he presumed Alli had taken a lump sum payment from YPD when he joined the AG staff. “He definitively and affirmatively, before we hired him, told us that he had resigned,” Dann said. “The fact is what he did was not what he told us he did and that’s an issue of trust. If I can’t trust the person I have in charge of law enforcement operations then I’m not going to have that person.”
In response to Mayor Jay Williams comments that “other issues” would be investigated, Dann said he wasn’t aware of anything else beside the double dipping. He said he would be even more disappointed if something else turns up.
Dann said he didn’t know Alli’s whereabouts today. Alli turned in his state car, cell phone and other equipment Thursday.
Alli violated AG Marc Dann's trust
BOARDMAN — Rick Alli “seriously violated” Attorney General Marc Dann’s trust in him that the state’s top law enforcement officer was left with no other choice but to fire the former Youngstown police detective today, Dann’s communications director said.
The firing of Dann’s chief of law enforcement operations is primarily because Alli was still on the Youngstown police department’s payroll while he was also received his $118,000 annual salary as Dann’s “top cop,” said Leo Jennings, Dann’s communications director at a press conference this morning in Boardman.
“The thrust is Alli received two salaries,” Jennings said. “That’s a violation of the trust Attorney General Dann placed in him. This is not a small matter.”
Jennings said the matter is being turned over to the Ohio Ethics Commission, which could recommend the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office file felony or misdemeanor charges against Alli.
Because of the investigation, Jennings said he wouldn’t discuss any other potential problems with Alli outside of the double-dipping.
“Using the word ‘disappointed’ is an understatement,” Jennings said when asked about Dann’s thoughts on this matter. Dann is in Cleveland today and hasn’t made any public comments about the firing yet. Attempts to reach Alli today were unsuccessful.
Dann isn’t sure what will become of Alli’s former position, Jennings said.
“No decision has been made,” he said. “We’ll see if we will reconfigure the position or keep it as it is.”
William Binning, chairman of the Youngstown State University’s political science department, said Ohio Republicans will seize on this issue in an attempt to embarrass Dann. Dann, a Liberty Democrat, ran for attorney general on a platform that criticized Republican corruption in state government.
“He’ll hear from Republicans because crow is hard to eat,” Binning said.
But as long as there are no further problems with his office, this matter will blow over shortly, Binning said.
“It’s a rookie mistake,” he said. “It’s not fatal unless it happens again.”
Dann is committed to “upholding the highest ethical standards,” Jennings said. “Questions were raised about an employee in the past week and the employee was terminated” today.
Dann hired Alli in Jan. 2. The appointment, made six days before Dann was sworn in as attorney general, raised some eyebrows.
In his new position, Alli oversaw the law enforcement functions performed by the office. He acted as Dann’s liaison to local police departments, sheriffs’ offices and other first responders; and served as Dann’s primary adviser and legal counselor on law enforcement issues.
The concern was Alli had spent 31 years with the Youngstown police department, including 28 years in a full-time capacity, but only rose to the rank of sergeant, one step above patrolman.
Alli failed to tell Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes that he was taking the new job until after it was publicly announced by Dann and Alli. Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams found out about the move after his chief of staff read a Newswatch entry on Vindy.com about it.
Also, Alli acknowledged at the time of his hire that he was a “mid-level manager” yet Dann selected him to oversee hundreds of employees and serve as his conduit to law enforcement agencies.
While Alli went through various police training programs, he placed Youngstown State University and Denison University in Granville on his rÃ©sumÃ©. When asked if he graduated from either university, Alli said no because he “never had a desire to finish. There are a lot of requirements. I found no need [to take the required courses] at this time.
But Dann was undeterred saying Alli was “uniquely qualified” for the position.
In his Jan. 8 inaugural address, Dann said Alli “understands what it takes to fight crime and it will be his job to ensure that we provide the law enforcement community with the tools they need to do their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Jennings said today that it wasn’t a bad decision to hire Alli.
Dann “thought it was important to have a line officer in that position,” he said.
Jennings also said it’s possible that Alli could seek reinstatement to the Youngstown police department.
Anonymous called 'dropped a dime' on Rick Alli
YOUNGSTOWN — An anonymous caller, in street parlance, “dropped a dime” on Rick Alli earlier this week, raising issues so serious that Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann fired his so-called “top cop” — effective today, said Leo Jennings, communications director.
Alli, former Youngstown police officer hired by Dann in January, “was put in a position of trust at the upper level of the office and we believe everything we learned this week violated that trust and Marc is just not going to tolerate it,” Jennings said.
One accusation is that Alli was double dipping, collecting a city and state payroll at the same time, Mayor Jay Williams has confirmed. The mayor said today that there are other issues but declined to be specific.
Speaking in general terms, City Prosecutor Jay Macejko said that a theft-in-office charge is possible if double dipping is confirmed. Macejko said there are two options when someone resigns or retires — stay on the payroll until vacation and sick time is exhausted or take a lump sum.
If on the payroll, you can’t take another state job, Macejko said.
Jennings said the Ohio Ethics Commission, after its investigation, could make a recommendation to the Mahoning County prosecutor that felony or misdemeanor charges be filed against Alli.
“We’re not going to comment in any way that would inhibit or impede that investigation,” Jennings said. “That’s the stance we’re taking.”
Statement from Ohio attorney general
COLUMBUS — The attorney general's office issued a brief statement today on the firing of Rick Alli as chief of law enforcement operations.
The statement reads: "The office of Attorney General Marc Dann announced this morning that it has joined the City of Youngstown in asking the Ohio Ethics Commission to investigate a number of issues related to Rick Alli’s employment with the city and the State of Ohio."
The office also announced that the Attorney General terminated Mr. Alli’s employment effective imediately.
Alli is out as top cop
Former Youngstown police Detective Sgt. Rick Alli is "no longer employed" by the attorney general's office, according to a staffer at the department's law enforcement operations divisions.
The Vindicator called Alli's office today to speak to him about his employment and an investigation by Youngstown and other law enforcement agencies regarding allegations of double-dipping. The woman said Alli doesn't work for the attorney general's office anymore.
Attorney General Marc Dann of Liberty hired Alli in January as his chief of law enforcement operations, a position Dann had called his office's "top cop."
Alli is being investigated for double dipping
YOUNGSTOWN — A former city police detective sergeant who now works for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is being investigated by Youngstown and other law enforcement agencies for double-dipping and other matters, Mayor Jay Williams said this evening.
Rick Alli, who is the attorney general’s chief of law enforcement operations, is being investigated for being on the city’s payroll at the same time he was working for the attorney general, Williams said.
The mayor said Alli has not held an official position with the city since he began working for the state.