July 23, 2016

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HR official suggests county clerk put employee on unpaid leave

David Wadsworth

David Wadsworth

MEDINA — A Medina County human resources official has recommended county Clerk of Courts David Wadsworth discipline one of his employees by putting her on unpaid leave rather than firing her.

Wadsworth on Monday said the employee, Deputy Clerk Cynthia Tyree, has not been terminated but didn’t elaborate.

The disciplinary recommendation was filed Thursday by Denise Casteel, an administrative assistant at the county sanitary engineers office appointed to hear the case.

Wadsworth put Tyree on paid leave two weeks ago, saying she failed to back up computer data and changed files on a computer server without consulting him. Both of those actions were prohibited by an employee policy manual, Wadsworth said.

Casteel wrote that Wadsworth also accused Tyree of lying about backing up the files.

At the July 11 disciplinary hearing, Tyree acknowledged not backing up the servers, but defended her work performance, Casteel wrote in her report.

Casteel wrote that Tyree said she never received the employee policy manual, but Wadsworth presented a document signed by Tyree stating she received the manual when hired in January 2012.

Tyree was given a chance to resign from her position, but Tyree declined, Casteel said.

Casteel agreed that discipline was warranted, but said unpaid suspension or a “last chance agreement” were appropriate remedies.

“This is my recommendation as the hearing officer,” she wrote to Tyree. “However, keep in mind that you are an ‘unclassified employee’ and the final decision lies with the Clerk of Courts.”

Human resources director Holly Muren said last week that the hearing was an unnecessary step in disciplining Tyree. Because Tyree is not a civil service employee, Muren said Wadsworth could have terminated Tyree without calling for a hearing.

Wadsworth said last week he asked for the hearing so Tyree could have a chance to defend herself. He denied that the request for a hearing was related to a recently settled federal suit against him by a former employee who sued him after he fired her.

In that case, the employee said Wadsworth fired her because she turned him in to Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman for allegedly campaigning for the 2012 election while on the job.

Wadsworth was charged with misuse of public funds and pleaded no contest in September. A judgment in the case was delayed, pending Wadsworth’s completion of a “first offender” diversion program.

The civil suit ended in June with an out-of-court settlement. The terms of the settlement have not been released.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.