Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shouldn't an attorney know better?

Buried within a Blade story about the dog warden is an interesting and disturbing comment by Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop.

A group of individuals dissatisfied with how Tom Skeldon does his job as the warden, has put a petition online to ask for his removal. I really don't want to get into a discussion about the the dog warden, Ohio laws or pit bulls, but I do want to point out Konop's response.

"Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, ... said a large public outcry could represent a cause for dismissing Mr. Skeldon."

As a government employee, Skeldon has certain due process rights enforced by Ohio Revised Code. The fact that there are some people unhappy with the performance of a public employee does not justify 'cause' for dismissal.

Public dissatisfaction may prompt a review or evaluation of said employee, but should not be considered a 'cause' for firing. And Konop, being an attorney and a commissioner, should know better.

If an employee is not doing the job assigned, is not following statutory responsibilities, is rude or behaves in an unacceptable manner, there is cause for discipline. Claims by the public that such things are happening should result in an investigation of the claims and a determination of facts. Following such investigation, there should be either discipline or an explanation to the public for why none is needed.

Any discipline imposed should first be corrective, and then escalated if improvement does not occur. While I'd expect any elected official to be familiar with such processes, I would think that an attorney would be even more sensitive to the due processes established for public employees.

Konop needs to be careful if he thinks less than 500 names on a petition is 'cause' to remove a person from their position, lest some dissatisfied voters start one on him.


navyvet said...

Hi Maggie,

Its just Ben being Ben... :(

Wonder if anyone is jotting these gems down for a be used as a doorstop?

skeeter1107 said...

Hold that thought for a second Maggie! Don't dismiss it so quickly.

Five Hundred signatures would be all that is required? Maybe that's the answer to Toledo and Lucas County's problems. We could start this weekend.

All joking aside. His comment is disconcerting because it strikes me as either a lack of knowledge, which I doubt, or more likely getting the sequence wrong of engaging his brain before engaging his mouth.

Timothy W Higgins said...


The people seeking signatures on the petition for the removal of Tom Skeldon had better get these submitted before the end of the year, as Commissioner Konop considers opinions given during Presidential election years to be the only ones of value. :-)

That being said, I am saddened by the fact that another NW Ohio politician ignoring the City Charter or the Ohio Revised Code is not a surprise to me. Since doing so appears to carry no consequences for such individuals however, I see no reason for them to change their ways.

Roman said...

I think it goes to show; Ben is not much of a lawyer, and even less of a commisioner!!

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