Portage County commissioners appoint felon to serve on DD board

RAVENNA – One Portage County Commissioner is regretting her decision to appoint a man, who has a felony record, to serve on the Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD).

Commissioner Vicki Kline tells Fox 8 that she made a mistake when she appointed William Tarver to the board. Tarver was appointed in December.

“I did not know what I know now about this candidate,” Kline said. “I want to rescind this appointment and I am still looking into whether it can be done.”

But Commissioner Sabrina Christian-Bennett said prosecutors advised commissioners that they are not able to rescind the appointment.

Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci says state law does not ban people with felony records from being volunteer board members.

Tarver said he is aware that many are upset about his appointment but he wants to serve so he can be a voice for those with disabilities, like his younger brother. He said several people have written to the commissioners on his behalf.

“I have two felonies, and I am very proud of those felonies and I know that sounds kind of odd,” Tarver said. “But what I am trying to say is I am proud of who I am.”

Tarver said he was convicted of failing to pay child support and for violating a protection order.

“I am not going to accept that I am a dead beat dad,” Tarver said. “I have supported my five daughters.” He said he disagrees with how the county figured out how much money he owed. He said due to health issues he was not able to work full time.

Some parents and family members say they will attend the commissioners meeting Thursday because they are concerned about Tarver’s appointment.

Tarver says he plans to attend the board’s first meeting next week.

“I am not going to swear him in ,” Kline said. “They will have to get another commissioner to do it.”