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Judge rules in favor of former Greene County worker

Woman challenged layoff decision.

A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge recently affirmed an Ohio State Personnel Board of Review decision that a former Greene County Children Services employee who was laid off should have been allowed to displace another worker.

The county judge’s ruling upheld an Oct. 9 decision by the three-member state board, which unanimously ordered Greene County commissioners to allow Victoria Phillips, a former executive secretary, to bump a county worker from a secretarial position and take that individual’s job.

“If this is the answer, I’m glad it’s working out for her,” said Greene County Commissioner Tom Koogler.

County commissioners have 30 days to file an appeal with the Ohio Court of Appeals. Koogler said he did not know if commissioners would do so.

Phillips, 57, a children services executive secretary at the time, received a letter dated Dec. 2, 2012 signed by two county commissioners indicating her job would be eliminated a month later as a result of the agency’s merger with the county jobs and family services department. The letter said she had no displacement rights — the ability to take over a similar position held by someone with less seniority.

In his written decision, Judge Richard Sheward found evidence contrary to the county’s claim that Phillips held the only executive secretary position that existed in the county and no similar position existed for her to move into.

Sheward’s decision is the most recent ruling in Phillips’ favor. In August, an Ohio State Personnel Board of Review administrative judge determined the county should have allowed Phillips to displace, or bump, into another job. County commissioners appealed the decision with the state board, which upheld the administrative law judge’s decision.

“I think justice is prevailing in all of these instances,” Phillips said. “I’m very happy with the judgments so far.”

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