Discrimination charge against county sheriff dismissed after 2 years PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 09:22
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File photo. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn.
After a two-year legal process regarding a deputy's charge of discrimination, a federal court judge has ruled in favor of Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and the countys commissioners.
On Dec. 23, Judge Jack Zouhary with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, Wasylyshyn and the three commissioners.
The action dismissed a charge of discrimination filed in 2007 by Deputy James Kimble that he was passed over for a promotion because he is African American. The promotion was given to Deputy Rodney Konrad, a Caucasian.
Wasylyshyn said Monday the issue took two years because "it's a long process in federal court, with hearings and depositions. It's a slow process."
A motion for a summary judgment was filed by the defendants, resulting in a hearing on Nov. 2. Wasylyshyn said a request for a summary judgment acknowledges all the hearings and depositions have been done.
"We're saying, there is no case here. The judge agreed to a hearing for a summary judgment. He agreed with us there was no discrimination to take the case forward. ... The judge had a very strong ruling."
In Zouhary's 13-page Memorandum Opinion and Order, he noted the sheriff office posted a job opening in August, 2006 for an environmental sergeant in the Environmental Division. The duties included enforcing solid waste laws, inspecting junkyards and supervising deputies in charge of the inmate litter control crew. Only Kimble and Konrad applied.
Both men were interviewed by a five-member panel which then made a recommendation to Wasylyshyn for his final decision, a process which he instituted when he became sheriff in 2005. The panel found both deputies equally qualified for the position.
A key deciding factor in Konrad's being promoted instead of Kimble was each deputy's record of citations and arrests in the nine-and-a-half months prior to the panel's interview. Konrad had issued 168 citations and conducted 22 arrests, while Kimble had 11 citations and four arrests.
In his opinion Zouhary wrote, "Wasylyshyn asserts that he based his promotion decision on Konrad's superior record of enforcement activity, which meshed with Wasylyshyn's stated goal of increased enforcement activity throughout the department, including the environmental sergeant position." Using the statistics was "a valid way to distinguish between two otherwise similarly qualified candidates."
The judge ruled that Kimble "has not met his burden of showing that defendants' valid explanation of their decision was a pretext for discrimination," and granted their motion for a summary judgment.
"I am very pleased that the federal judge concurred there was no discrimination, and we did everything correctly in our promotional process," Wasylyshyn said of the ruling.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 December 2009 10:09
 

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