NEW HOLLAND – In July of 2018, the Village of New Holland Council was in the process of firing Sgt. Brad Mick when he presented charges against Mayor Clair “Butch” Betzko and acting police chief David Conrad. He alleged that they conspired to forge outgoing Police Chief Jason Lawless’s signature on paperwork bound for the Attorney General’s office. Neither Jason Lawless or the Attorney General were listed as complainants on the charge. The charge was later dismissed by the Pickaway County Prosecutor.
The allegations were used to secure a search warrant on the Village of New Holland Administration building, which at the time housed all the City’s business offices, police offices, and criminal evidence. According to witnesses at the scene, Pickaway County Sheriff’s deputies and Ohio State Highway Patrol secured the building while Mick was allowed to search the facility by himself.
Derek Myers, who runs a website called the Fayette Advocate, was given advance notice of the search and live streamed it on his Facebook Page. Myers has written dozens of stories disparaging New Holland, Jason Lawless (former police chief), and Mayor Betzko. He’s also been the primary complainant or conspirator on about a dozen legal actions agains the Mayor and Village.
According to the New Holland Administration, significant damage was done to the offices during the search. Circleville Municipal Judge Gary Dumm signed the search warrant, which gave Mick sole access to the building. According to sources, Mick was already the subject of an internal investigation when the warrant was executed.
Two months ago, Pickaway County Common Pleas Court ruled that the Village of New Holland had to reinstate Mick with back pay due to a technicality related to his termination letter. The court recognized the villages authority to put Mick on leave, and for the mayor to terminate him. They did not make a ruling on the merits of the firing, just that the correct procedures outlined in the Ohio Revised Code for such issues were not followed. Mick was reinstated, given back pay, then almost immediately suspended.
Last night, Monday May 13th, Mick appealed his 2nd suspension to the New Holland Council. According to a report by the Circleville Herald, Mick presented no evidence in his defense. Instead he asked that the village Solicitor (attorney) to recuse himself from the case, asked Vivian Wood to do the same, and asked for a continuance.
The New Holland Council unanimously voted to confirm the Mayor’s decision to fire Mick. We expect to see Mick appeal this decision to the Common Pleas Court in Pickaway County.