Toledo City Council member resigns from role as state employee after investigation into misuse of state time

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 12:56 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Toledo City Councilman and Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board employee resigned from his position on the board following an investigation that he improperly reported his work time and used his state-issued vehicle on personal errands. Despite his resignation, the Councilman maintains he acted responsibly.

John M. Hobbs III is accused of stopping at locations in his state-issued vehicle during State of Ohio work time that was unrelated to his board duties. 13abc reached out to Hobbs for comment and is waiting to hear back.

The Agency Counsel for the board said Hobbs resigned last Tuesday, Sept. 7. According to the Ohio Inspector General investigation, Hobbs used his vehicle and state time to visit his dentist, go to his family’s barbershop, and coach basketball at Bowsher High School. Hobbs was also appointed to one of the Toledo City Council seats after four members stepped aside during a bribery investigation.

In his resignation letter to the board, Hobbs raised accusations of a hostile work environment and a “documented history of harassment” that plagued his tenure, calling the investigation frivolous.

The letter reads, in part:

As an employee for the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board, Hobbs’ primary job duty was to perform inspections of all COS licensed facilities in his assigned region, consisting of 28 counties located in northwest Ohio. He is responsible for inspecting barber shops, cosmetology salons, tanning facilities, nail/manicuring facilities, and aesthetics facilities.

After reviewing mobile location data, inspection reports, timesheets, and records for Hobbs’ second job coaching at Bowsher, “the Office of the Inspector General found reasonable cause to believe Hobbs violated COS policies by engaging in a personal business for profit working as a basketball coach during times he had reported working as an inspector for the State of Ohio,” a press release said.

Investigators found that on 14 days between January 21, 2018, and June 23, 2020, Hobbs both engaged in coaching the Bowsher basketball team and reporting those hours to the State of Ohio. A report states the financial loss to the State of Ohio as $423.35.

Additionally, investigators found Hobbs had three personal dentist appointments when he reportedly was on the clock for the State of Ohio, with financial losses totaling $148.15.

The report also says Hobbs “clocked out” from his duties with the State of Ohio while at Bowsher and was also “clocked in” during one of his dentist appointments while still using his state-issued vehicle, creating liability issues by using the car “outside the time and scope of his employment with the State of Ohio.”

The Inspector General’s report has been sent to the City of Columbus Prosecuting Attorney, City of Toledo Prosecuting Attorney, and the Ohio Ethics Commission for consideration.

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