Tension in Perrysburg over prosecutor position

PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - The pending retirement of Perrysburg's chief prosecutor has caused some tension between the mayor's office and some members of city council.

Last week, a replacement was recommended, but council members voted 4 to 3 against hiring Chynna Fifer, a Wood county public defender.

"I don't understand the time and the harshness of the reaction to not getting [the administration's] recommendation approved," Jim Matuszak, council president said.

Matuszak voted no pointing to Fifer's qualifications and the process in general.

"The administration has the right, I believe, to use whatever process they want," Matuszak said. "City council has the right to confirm or deny the recommendation. If we have the to accept their process, they have to accept our confirmation or denial."

But as of Monday, Fifer has been named "acting prosecutor for the city.

In an email, the law director, Karlene Henderson confirms the move writing, "through vacation and time off owed to the retiring prosecutor, the office must remain functional." She adds that the open position has been advertised.

"For whatever reason, they've ignored the will of council and appointed this woman anyway," Matuszak argued.

Mayor Tom Mackin says Fifer was recommended by the administration, the outgoing prosecutor and 25 other attorneys. He declined to speak with 13abc on camera Tuesday, but says he does question why those four council members rejected her nomination.

"I was not only concerned about the process, now I'm concerned about the candidate," Matuszak said.

He also says that one day after council's vote, the assistant prosecutor was let go. He calls the move "suspicious."

Now, he's pushing for more transparency and a full investigation into the termination.

"The taxpayers elected all 7 of us to be a checks and balance over the administration," he said. "To make sure they don't do things that the taxpayers wouldn't want us to do."