Quote To Test Landfill Records Presented To Commissioners

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A consultant quoted a price of $5,145 to do testing to find out if records dug up from a landfill as part of the Patrick Kelly investigation pose a safety risk.

Hiring of the consultant is on the agenda of this week’s Athens County Commissioners meeting.

Part of the investigation of then-sheriff Patrick Kelly centered around his disposal of county records, which were taken to the Athens-Hocking Reclamation Center landfill. In 2013, the landfill was searched and records were dug up and have been in storage in Hocking County.

With Kelly’s case resolved, the issue of what to do with the records has arisen. The records can’t be chucked back into the landfill without being reviewed because there are rules on how long records must be retained before disposal. Also, the commissioners want to confirm that the records have been microfilmed, although Kelly testified at his trial that he only disposed of records that had been.

Because the records have been landfilled, the commissioners have been warned that they might be contaminated and possibly unsafe for someone to examine.

The Columbus company Arcadis has quoted the price of $5,145 to do an indoor air quality analysis where the records are stored, checking for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, moisture (because it promotes mold and microbial organisms), mold itself and bacteria. The company also will do tape lifts and swabs of the records to analyze for mold and bacteria, respectively.

Commissioner Charlie Adkins said he favors hiring the company.

“I don’t think there’s any real choice,” Adkins said. “We’ve got to find out what they (the records) are and whether we can destroy them or not.”

The test will indicate the level of protection that will be needed for whoever eventually goes through the records.

“I think it’s a prudent step to do this (testing), to see what we’re getting into,” said Commissioner Lenny Eliason. “Somebody has to handle all those records, to see what’s there.”

During Kelly’s trial, he was accused of obstructing official business (a misdemeanor) by taking more than nine tons of records to the landfill at a time when he was under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. It was alleged that Kelly destroyed the records to obstruct the investigation, however the jury found Kelly innocent of the charge. He was convicted of 18 other charges that are felonies.