Dumbeck done in June

Following several tumultuous years, Erich Dumbeck resigned Tuesday as director of the county department of job and family services after just three years at the helm, effective June 1. "I just felt it was time for a change, time to do something different," Dumbeck said in an exclusive interview with the Reflector, which first reported his resignation Tuesday on this Web site.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010


Following several tumultuous years, Erich Dumbeck resigned Tuesday as director of the county department of job and family services after just three years at the helm, effective June 1.

"I just felt it was time for a change, time to do something different," Dumbeck said in an exclusive interview with the Reflector, which first reported his resignation Tuesday on this Web site.

Dumbeck admitted that the controversy and criticism directed at the agency, as well as at him personally, was a factor in his decision to resign.

Dumbeck, 31, has been with the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (HCDJFS) for 9 1/2 years. He was hired as director in June 2004, just months before the first of the agency's several high-profile cases broke.

In October 2004, Paul Efaw stabbed and killed his foster daughter, Connre Dixon, after she attacked him with a knife. Last month, a jury awarded Dixon's estate $600,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit against the county for failing to properly screen Efaw.

Less than a year later, Michael and Sharen Gravelle were accused of forcing some of their 11 adopted children to sleep in cages. Several social workers and agency employees have been criticized for knowing about the conditions in the home and failing to act.

Dumbeck was heavily criticized for initially indicating the department had no interaction with the Gravelles, which was incorrect.

Last year, a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Dumbeck. The complaint was dismissed earlier this year. An independent review found that he did have an unwanted, inappropriate relationship with a HCDJFS employee, but it was prior to his promotion to director.

Finally, an old human services computer containing employee information was sold online last year through a government auction.

"You can look at a couple of unpleasant things (but) the good that the agency does far outweighs and surpasses a couple of bad situations," Dumbeck said.

Dumbeck said he felt no pressure to resign by the county commissioners, and all three commissioners said they did not ask him to resign. However, the commissioners and Dumbeck did talk about the direction of the agency and what was "best for him and his family."

Dumbeck was in line to receive an evaluation from the commissioners in the near future.

"No, I wouldn't say there was any direct pressure," said commissioner Mike Adelman.

"There's going to be some people who speculate about why he (resigned) and the woulda, shoulda, coulda until the cows come home. Let's just take his letter of resignation at face value."

In that letter, Dumbeck wrote that God was "leading me in the direction to serve individuals in a different capacity."

Commissioner Gary Bauer said he supported Dumbeck and his decision.

"He had to be under tremendous pressure. I wouldn't say I thought he'd resign, but I'm not surprised by that," Bauer said. "He's not a quitter. He has to make decisions that are best for his family."

Commissioner Ralph Fegley said an agency review, launched in February, would continue.

"I'm disappointed, but he's also got to look out for himself and what he has to do," Fegley said, adding he thought the sexual harassment complaint likely weighed heavily on Dumbeck. "There was a cloud hanging over him that probably would not go away. Some major things did happen ... He takes responsibility for his actions and considers how he can do better. "

The commissioners will discuss how to proceed in hiring a new director.

They also have other fish to fry at HCDJFS:

"The board is very aware of an element, a very small element, at job and family services that seemingly takes great pleasure at causing problems, not only for the administration but for other people who work out there as well," Adelman said. "We will get to the bottom of that."

He declined to elaborate further on the situation at this time.

Dumbeck was not bitter about his time at HCDJFS, instead he spoke highly of what the agency was able to accomplish during his tenure.

"I think that this agency continues to grow and improve every day. I think the money and effort this agency puts out there meets the needs of those that are hurting or don't have resources," he said. "I'm proud to work for and work with these customers and these employees who are truly dedicated to what they do."

Resignation Letter

April 10, 2007

Huron County Commissioners

180 Milan Ave.

Norwalk, Ohio 44857

RE: Resignation as Director of the Department of Job and Family Services

Dear Huron County Commissioners,

This letter is to inform you of my decision to resign as the Director of the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services effective June 1, 2007.

I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me to serve the community of Huron County. I have enjoyed working for and being a part of HCDJFS for the last nine years. I am proud to have worked with professionals throughout the community and in this agency that truly have the desire to serve the people of Huron County.

I believe that God leads in directions that are sometimes unknown to us but are part of a greater plan. I feel that He is leading me in the direction to serve individuals in a different capacity.


Erich Dumbeck

Director HCDJFS


Baker (Anonymous)

Ok...as for that "inappropriate, unwanted relationship". Why are you only taking the word of a class-less female who has a proven track record of indiscretions? Why are people taking what you read in the newspaper as fact? The woman pursued a man she KNEW was married. She knew he had a family at home and whether or not he made the mistake of being with her, why is no one bothered by the fact that her complaints, which have been dismissed, is still working for the county. This person is costing the county money each day with her frivolous attempt to "take ED down".

unknown (Anonymous)

how can you sit there and justify a married man doing what he has done. and a class-less woman.....really impressive. the mind set of this city leaves me speechless. and your wife, man is she confused. who are you to judge a woman of doing the right thing. how sad is this town, how sad....period. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Heather Dumbeck...

To unknown, I am the wife you call confused. You're right. I am confused. I'm confused about what prompted your criticism of me and confused about what gives you the right to attack me. Since you're not even be a big enough person to attach your name to your comment, I'll just share a few thoughts with you here. It's a shame that you feel you have the right to criticism of my husband, especially since I'm certain you don't have all the facts. What's been printed in the local "papers" has been tainted, twisted, distorted, and downright wrong. But if you're comfortable thinking that that is good enough for you to criticize someone, I guess it's your loss. Hopefully you never have to walk in his shoes, because you've proven you're a small enough person that you wouldn't handle it with the dignity and mercy that he has. If you're so unhappy in this city, allow me to be the first to invite you to leave it and we'll all be better off.

unknown (Anonymous)

since you are so blind to what is truly happening, it's a waste of my time and anyone else's to make you understand. i don't have the slightest bit of sympathy for you since you just don't get it. seriously, are you really trying to justify your "wonderful" husband, who admitted having an affair and who quit his job for whatever reasons he babbled about.......so, let me be the first to say once you leave this town, we'll ALL be way better off. hopefully the county has learned there lesson with this director.........as for all your childish, ridulous comments......my life is great, so thanks for asking.

Rebecca Absher ...

Problem: The HCDJFS, under their "leader" was not able to protect alot of innocent kids.
Answer: Not let it slide until someone dies,someone sues,someone suffers,someone is destroyed heart and soul.

People are attacking each other for their jobs,their careers,their dignity. I am not responsible for any of those people. I am, however, responsible to help ANY child whether I suffer or not.And so is the rest of this community!
I have read all the articles and why is there a "LIST" of the wrong-doings? There shouldn't be a list! First proof of wrong-doing should be prison!
My theory is based on this: if you take upon yourself a willing position to lead and set an example to a whole community; you better be right with yourself,your thoughts,your honor, and your word. If you abuse that position in ANY way- you lose.

Because people aren't held accountable from the start there is room for error. = no room/no error.
Alot of families are suffering...and it's because of paperwork,directors,and bad decisions. I'm sorry to all of you that have had to shed any tears,turmoil,or trust. I hope you who caused it- "answer" to the one that counts. You figure out who is who.

anonymous (Anon...

Comment removed for violation of the terms of use.

to anonymous (A...

If you are married, not to be mean, but I hope you are put in Heather's shoes and people you don't even know start to criticize you because after all it's her fault that this happened. If you ever have to experience something like this I hope people treat you the same way you are treating Mrs. Dumbeck.

to to anonymous...

are you kidding me, defending dumbeck's wife. she brought this on herself with her senseless comments in the papers. she is so in the dark about what's really going on. so i hope no one ever has to see what it's like to be her, how could you wish that on someone?? since you're so buddy-buddy with heather, ask her how life's been since all this crap started with her hubby being caught in so many lies!! i'm sure her life is GREAT!!!!!

anonymous (Anon...

My life happens to be great right now. By the way, I DID catch my first husband cheating. He is a disgusting pig just like Eric. This is why he is my EX-husband. The husband I have now is much better. All that aside, Heather Dumbeck is still stupid. Like I said before, Nicole is NOT the first and surely won't be the last.(I personally know of at least two more). Heather doesn't seem to mind being publicly humiliated. She must not be able to make it on her own as she "stands by her man" no matter how many lies he tells or how many stupid women he has on the side.

disgusted (Anon...

Removed for obscene language.

Reflector Staff...

We at the Reflector appreciate everyone who has taken advantage of the comment feature on our Web site. We hope our site provides a place the community can come to debate and discuss important issues. However, we would ask everyone maintain some semblance of civility, politeness and courtesy. The Reflector will not edit posts, but we will take down any posts that violate this basic code of conduct. We ask that you try to refrain from name calling and the use of vulgar language as it does not further intelligent debate.

unknown (Anonymous)

No matter what happens I am proud to say that I know and I am friends with Erich and Heather Dumbeck.

WHATEVER (Anonymous)


unknown (Anonymous)

Heather and Erich both have very many friends. probaly more than you have but that's not the issue. They are great people, with a great life ahead of them. Right now it may seem a little weak and not so great. Heather is a strong women filled with great love for her husband and kids and so is erich. Unless you know them personly and know everything that's going on not what the news paper says you dont have the right to put them down or judge them. They are people just like the rest of us who deserve respect. My friendship with Heather means a lot to me, she has had to deal with all of this and instead of giving up and just leaving she had delt with this every day not knowing what is coming next but is ready. Erich does the same. and that is why i am proud to say i know and i am friends with them.

Getting back to...

I do not know how anyone that is involved in this discussion is sleeping at night. That includes the Dumbecks. Let me just start by saying I do not care who Erich Dumbeck has slept with or not slept with it is not my business or anyone elses except for his wife. There are many promenient men and women in the community who have had affairs and it is not put in the paper. Let's make sure our closets are clean before we rut through someone elses.

Furthermore, why was it important to any of you to bring his wife and children into this. Yes, his wife wrote in about how she felt, but again, it is her husband.

Why would anyone of you want Heather Dumbeck to leave her husband or think for one minute that she is weak because she stays. She has to be one of the strongest women I know.

As far as politics goes, please, look at both parties from the Presidents on down and tell me who hasn't done something they aren't quite proud of.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Dumbeck's marriage will matter none. Perhaps you should concentrate on your own as much as you do theirs. Because if you haven't learned any lesson here it is it could happen to you and you will be just as surprised as Heather. I only hope you are as strong as she is.

May God bless this community and I pray that you all find it in your hearts to forgive each other for the unkind words and lack of respect you have shown here in this paper.

anonymous (Anon...

Hey "reality" are you Eric's, or Heather's mother? By the way, something like that DID happen to me. I took my 3 kids and left. Heather is weak. Only a weak person with 0 self esteem (like Heather) sticks around for that.

anonymous (Anon...

Is it June yet? He really shouldn't be allowed to stay that long.