Penn Trustee Jeff Dean won't resign despite guilty plea

Penn Township Trustee Jeff Dean, 50, told the advisory board Tuesday he does not plan to resign despite pleading guilty to charges of official misconduct and conflict of interest.

Dean was indicted last year by a grand jury on three felony charges of official misconduct, conflict of interest and theft, all Class D felonies. He later pleaded not guilty during an appearance in June.

Dean was accused of hiring his girlfriend, Sarah Sharp, as an administrative assistant and then paid her for work she didn't perform between May 1, 2008 and May 7, 2010.

On May 31 the prosecutor's office announced a plea agreement where Dean would plead guilty to charges of official misconduct and conflict of interest. In exchange they would drop the charge of theft.

During Tuesday's advisory board meeting two members, Charlie Gray and Kent Hizer called on him to resign, but he refused.

"It hasn't been accepted by the judge yet. There’s been no conviction. There's been no nothing, okay? So yes, I did do that [plead guilty], but there's nothing set yet, legally and there's still work to be done," said Dean.

Board members expressed their frustration with his stance, but admitted there wasn't much they could do because a judge has yet to approve the deal.

"I know in the strictest legal sense that's not a done deal. It’s not a conviction, but he has pled guilty I don't see how it can be anything else than a conviction in my mind and many other people's mind," said Board President Charlie Gray. "We all know that Jeff Dean will not be trustee. How long this lasts we don’t know."

Dean admitted the situation is uncomfortable for him and understood the other's position, but remained adamant about his refusal to resign.

"Is it a very uncomfortable situation? Of course it is and do they have a right to their opinion? Yes they do and I respect that. I, however, don't agree with it. I think I still have a duty here to the residents of Penn Township," said Dean.

Dean was unwilling to comment on what could happen next to him. His next court appearance is July 30 when the judge could approve the plea agreement and he could be sentenced.

"I have no comment on that. I'm being truthful with you, okay? I don't have a crystal ball. I don't know what is going to happen. I'm following the advice of my attorney and I we'll go from there," said Dean. "I have work to do for Penn Township."

Sharp was also indicted on four felony counts of theft and ghost employment. She pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court later this summer.

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