BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Former YSU Police Chief John Beshara started a new job this week out of the public eye, after his time at the university came to an abrupt end when he was put on administrative leave in April.
“Didn’t want to go out this way but maybe the little bit of a push is exactly what I needed,” he said. “I’m not happy with the way I left. Certainly would have liked to have a few more years, but I’m okay with it. It’s time for me to go on.”
A 36-page report detailing the internal investigation into his dismissal was released by the university. It was centered on Beshara’s use of a company vehicle and a trip he took with another officer during a training program in Florida.
Sitting in his kitchen, Beshara said he just got his record of separation paperwork in the mail from YSU on Wednesday, marking the end of a nearly 30-year career with the police department, including his last four years as chief.
“So at the end of the day, for me, it seems like they didn’t renew my contract because they didn’t want me there anymore.”
The investigation cited issues with his use of a YSU-owned green Jeep Liberty. It claims he used it for personal reasons even after getting an email directive on March 24.
“I never knew that that was an issue until I got called in that day. You would think if that was a concern, somebody would have presented that concern to you.”
The report also brought up a trip during the last week of March where the chief tagged along with an officer who was going to a training session in Miami. Beshara says it was a vacation and he paid for everything himself.
He did ride in a rental car paid for by the university, which the two men chose to upgrade to a BMW. Beshara stayed in the officer’s hotel room as well, which was also covered by YSU.
“I asked him twice, at least twice, just to make sure he was okay with it and like I said, I was going through some things and it was just an opportunity to get away for a week,” Beshara said.
Page 6 of the report reads:
Officer Rogner indicated he was not happy and felt uncomfortable that Chief Beshara joined him on the trip, but indicated that someone in his position (junior officer) does not question the Chief.
Beshara says he checked with the Attorney General’s office and university officials before the trip to make sure he was allowed to do that.
“Public employees today are always under the microscope so because I thought that maybe it could be an issue, I wanted to clarify that as best I could, thinking I had done that just to make sure there were no issues…I believe I did cross my t’s and dot my i’s.”
At this point, Beshara says he’s ready to move on with his life, especially after the death of his wife in February. However, he still feels that his career with YSU ended unfairly.
“Everything was done behind closed doors and it was all brought up that day,” he said. “I believe a decision was made before I walked in the room.”
According to an agreement between Beshara and the university, he will pay back $458 for the rental car upgrade.
His ending status will be classified as voluntary retirement, effective May 31.
Public Information Officer Ron Cole said YSU has “no further comment.”