Scott Frank resigns as Nelsonville city manager

Scott Frank, the controversial Nelsonville city manager, resigned from that position on Friday.

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — Nelsonville City Manager Scott Frank resigned from that position on Friday. 

Nelsonville City Auditor Taylor Sappington confirmed Frank’s resignation via text. Frank declined to comment.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said he was aware of Frank’s resignation but declined to comment on the record about whether the resignation was related to investigations by his office. “I wish the best for Nelsonville,” Blackburn added.


Council members Gregg Clement and Justin Booth declined to comment. Council president Tony Dunfee and members Dan Sherman and Cory Taylor did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Frank was appointed interim city manager in February 2020 before being hired permanently in June 2020. Frank was previously a manager in the U.S. Air Force for nine years. 

The process to confirm Frank as permanent city manager was marred by controversy. All women members of council — Wanda Johnson, Linda Watkins and Carla Grant — initially voted against his permanent hire, joined by then-council member Greg Smith. None remain on the council. Dan Sherman, Tony Dunfee and Cory Taylor all voted in favor of Frank’s hire. All remain on the council.

The initial vote prompted multiple protests — including what the Athens Messenger described as a “mini-strike” of city employees organized by Stuart Brooks. Brooks is not himself a city employee; he is the key accounts manager at Rocky Brands, a major employer in Nelsonville. At the time, Brooks pinned the delay in hiring Frank permanently primarily on Smith.

The city council then unanimously confirmed Frank as permanent city manager. Wanda Johnson resigned at the same meeting when Frank was permanently hired without explanation. Linda Watkins resigned at the next council meeting.

In a resignation letter she read to council, Watkins pointedly cited “​​certain people on council and within city management” and “a certain faction in this city trying to take over, for what I believe is their own personal gain.” 

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At the same meeting when Watkins resigned, Nelsonville City Council voted to hire Scott Fitch as interim police chief. Frank initially moved to appoint Fitch himself, just days after becoming interim city manager, though it was determined the move was not legal. It is unclear whether Frank knew at the time that Fitch had just been fired from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations for lying about an education credential, falsifying an evidence vault inspection and over 100 racist or otherwise inflammatory Facebook interactions.

Additional reporting by Sam Stecklow

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