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Published: Saturday, 9/12/2009

Cutting words grounds to resign? Hancock County official had threatened to castrate upset caller

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Walton Walton
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FINDLAY - It may have been "ill-advised" to threaten to castrate an irate caller, but Hancock County Commissioner Emily Walton said Friday she has no plans to resign her elected office.

"Suffice to say, it was an ill-advised comment precipitated by my unsuccessful request that he treat our staff politely and with respect," said Dr. Walton, a long-time veterinarian.

The second-term Republican commissioner told Jeff Davidson during a telephone conversation Sept. 3 that she ought to castrate him and had the tools to do it.

Mr. Davidson, a retired accountant from Dublin, Ohio, who has been trying to get the county to resolve a drainage issue in a subdivision where he owned property, told Dr. Walton in an e-mail she ought to resign because of what he deemed "totally unprofessional, unbusinesslike" words.

"People disagree. They blow off steam. They use the Lord's name in vain, but this stunned me," Mr. Davidson said yesterday.

He said he called the commissioner's office after making a records request and receiving the wrong documents. He said he told Dr. Walton "a fourth-grader" could've gotten his request right, but insisted his words were no more harsh than that.

"Is that unacceptable? Yes, I guess it is, but does it come close to castration?" Mr. Davidson asked.

Mark Miller, chairman of the Hancock County Republican Central Committee, said the party wasn't weighing in on the issue at this point. "Dr. Walton will follow her conscience and do the right thing," Mr. Miller said.

"She's got her constituents to answer to."

Fellow Republican Commissioner Ed Ingold said all public officials deal with irate people at times and it can be a challenge. Still, he stood by Dr. Walton.

"Was it ill-advised? Yes, but by no means do we think it's something that she needs to resign over, for heaven's sake," he said.

The comment may have shocked Mr. Davidson, but did not surprise those who know Dr. Walton.

"Emily's Emily. She's demonstrative," Mr. Ingold said. "She has brought a shovel in before at a meeting to demonstrate because she felt that all we get done is shoveling stuff that got left on our plate because the former commissioners didn't handle it. She's used her veterinary tools for emphasis on a number of occasions."

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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