George Elmaraghy was touted as a hero by some for opposing coal-mining permits before he was forced to retire as the chief water-quality officer at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
On Thursday, an investigative report said that although he
was pressured to leave his
job, the administration of Gov.
"I was really expecting something like that, because I know the inspector general (who is appointed by the governor) wants to keep his
In an email sent to his
staff in August 2013, Elmaraghy
was forced to quit for opposing coal industry permits "that may have a negative impact on Ohio's streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws.
"Like the man you often tell the story of in your speeches who worked in Wilmington and suddenly lost his
job, I am trying to understand why after 39 years of acclaimed service, my life and that of so many others was brutally turned upside down," Elmaraghy
said in an Aug. 19, 2014, letter.
"What happened to me should not happen to any dedicated employee - in Columbus or in Wilmington."
A year ago, Elmaraghy
got $40,000 and his
attorney $20,000 in a settlement with the state in which no one admitted wrongdoing.
now has an engineering job in the private sector and also serves on a board appointed by President Barack Obama to monitor Ohio River quality.
Investigators said Elmaraghy
never made good on an opportunity to provide emails to back up his
claim that his
removal stemmed from political pressure.
The probe found that the EPA
properly changed Elmaraghy's job status from classified to non-classified - meaning he
no longer had civil service protection - the day before his
Scott Nally, EPA director when Elmaraghy left the agency, said the decision to make a staffing change was his, and "he did not feel any outside pressure," investigators were told.