Will Seneca County Commissioner Tyler Shuff resign?
Tiffin, Ohio — Despite being sentenced to six days in jail this week for violating the terms of his probation, it doesn’t appear that Seneca County Commissioner Tyler Shuff intends to step down from his position anytime soon.
Shuff, 37, was elected to his first term as a county commissioner in 2020 after serving 12 years on Tiffin City Council.
On Wednesday, he was found guilty of violating the terms of his probation for his December 2021 drunk driving arrest and sentenced to six days in jail. He will be required to report for his jail sentence on April 1, 2023. The judge also suspended Shuff’s driver’s license with no driving privileges, effective immediately, through Feb. 1, 2024, and extended his probation to the same date.
But that didn’t stop Shuff from appearing at a Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday — and it was business as usual.
“How embarrassing is it that we have an elected official, let alone a county commissioner, who (not once, but twice) got caught getting behind the wheel while intoxicated?” one local resident asked in an email to TiffinOhio.net. “It looks like selfishness to me. [Shuff] couldn’t even be bothered to apologize to the public or at least explain his actions, and he has been tight-lipped with the press. He won’t even be able to legally drive around, but we’re still supposed to trust him to oversee the county and make decisions on behalf of us?”
Following his conviction, Shuff filed a request for unlimited driving privileges in November 2022 and agreed to have an ignition interlock system installed. An ignition interlock system is a handheld breathalyzer for car ignitions that’s installed to prevent users from being able to start their vehicle after drinking alcohol. The court granted Shuff’s request and the device was installed on his vehicle on Nov. 21, 2022.
According to court documents, Shuff committed a violation of the ignition interlock device on Jan. 10, 2023, when he attempted to operate his vehicle with a positive alcohol reading on the ignition interlock system, which prevented the vehicle from starting.
Shuff declined to comment on the matter through his attorney, Dean Henry.
Commissioners Anthony Paradiso and Bill Frankart released a joint statement following Shuff’s hearing Wednesday.
“Drinking and driving is a serious crime and all citizens, regardless of their position or status, must face the consequences of their actions. On a personal level, we are praying for Tyler and only want the best for him in the future,” Paradiso and Frankart said in the statement.
When asked whether he believes Shuff should resign, Commissioner Bill Frankart told TiffinOhio.net on Friday that “the decision on how Commissioner Shuff will proceed will be his own decision.”
Commissioner Anthony Paradiso, who serves as the board’s president, said that while he understands the concerns of citizens and the media, he “[does not] feel that it is [his] place to comment or pass judgement on this situation.”
“I believe that this is a personal matter that should be handled by Commissioner Shuff himself,” Paradiso said in a statement provided to TiffinOhio.net. “I will continue to serve the people of this county to the best of my ability and I pray for Commissioner Shuff as he makes decisions going forward with regards to his personal matters.”
On Dec. 27, 2021, Shuff was driving a black 2020 Dodge Ram pickup truck eastbound on Water Street when he was pulled over by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper for failure to use a turn signal, according to a police report.
During the traffic stop, the trooper suspected Shuff was intoxicated and administered a breathalyzer test. According to the police report, Shuff blew a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.228, which is nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08. Shuff was then arrested and charged with OVI and a turn signal violation.
Shuff pleaded no contest on April 18, 2022. He was found guilty and sentenced to 90 days in jail with 84 days suspended, however, his sentence was stayed pending appeal. His appeal was rejected by the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals in November 2022.
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