Republicans in Milton Township are exchanging charges that an employee has been doing political work during office hours.
Milton Township Supervisor Chris Heidorn is investigating township trustee James Flickinger’s charge that Ralph Hinkle, the executive director of the township’s emergency response team, has been campaigning on government time. Flickinger said he doesn't know which candidate—or campaign—Hinkle has supported. However, Jeanne Ives, one of four Republicans running for state representative in the 42nd District, said Friday Hinkle is one of her supporters.
Flickinger told Patch he requested information about Hinkle's use of office time and equipment after multiple township employees complained about Hinkle campaigning during business hours and using township property and resources to do so.
Heidorn referred the complaints against Hinkle to the township ethics committee, on which Ives served as a member. In his note to the ethics committee, Heidorn wrote that Flickinger’s complaints about Hinkle are “groundless,” but he felt the committee should still investigate the allegations.
Ives said she recused herself from the committee Tuesday after she read enough of Flickinger's letter to know there would have been a "perception of a conflict of interest."
"It's a politically motivated action (on the part of Flickinger)," Ives said. She added she is certain Hinkle will be cleared in the issue. "He has my full support," she said.
Flickinger said he lives in the 48th State Representative District, but that he is a recent friend of one of Ive's opponents in the March 20 primary, 42nd District candidate Chris Hage.
Flickinger said his complaint against Hinkle was not politically motivated, and that the issue of tracking an employee's use of time and equipment will not go away after the upcoming primary election. He also criticized Heidorn for addressing the issue in two public forums. He said Heidorn defended Hinkle during Tuesday's Milton Township Board of Trustees meeting and at a Wednesday night meeting of the Milton Township Republican Organization.
Hinkle deferred all questions to Heidorn. Multiple calls to Heidorn were not returned.
The primary is Tuesday, March 20. The Republican candidates for the 42nd State Representative District are: Dave Carlin, Hage, Ives and Laura Pollastrini. William Adams is the only Democrat running for the seat.