Former Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center employee alleges wrongful termination

Clark County Common Pleas Court

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Clark County Common Pleas Court

A former employee of the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center filed a lawsuit against the school’s board of education alleging he was wrongfully terminated last year.

James “Pat” Matthews, of Springfield, filed the civil suit in Clark County Common Pleas Court last week, where he requested to be reinstated to his job as a custodian supervisor for the school and be paid for his lost wages and benefits.

Matthews first filed an administrative appeal for his termination in April 2021 in the Clark County Common Pleas Court, and in October, Judge Douglas Rastatter overturned the termination and ordered Matthews’ reinstatement and repayment of lost earnings and benefits, stating the board’s investigation and hearing of Matthews “violated fundamental fairness,” according to court records.

The Board’s attorney did not return a request for comment before the newspaper’s print deadline.

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Matthews was placed on administrative leave in January 2021 pending an internal investigation after security footage found him and another custodial employee rummaging through “potential confidential paperwork” lying on the desk of the school’s custodial and maintenance supervisor, according to court records.

A due process hearing, the superintendent’s recommendation for his contract termination, and a school board resolution followed the investigation, according to court records.

Matthews’ employment with the school ended in March last year “based on allegations of dishonesty, insubordination, misfeasance and malfeasance,” according to the lawsuit.

Other allegations included Matthews’ attendance of a party that took place nearly 15 years ago where food and alcohol were purchased with school funds, his coming onto the school premises while on medical leave for a broken leg, and granting “unrestricted access” to the school premises to substitute custodian, according to court records.

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Matthews began his employment at the school in 2000 as a custodian, where he was promoted first in 2006 and again in 2013 to his most recent title of supervising custodian. Since his termination from the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, he has taken an interim job at a sanitation business “with lower pay and fewer benefits,” according to the complaint.

Matthews’ lost wages through last month total more than $70,000, according to the suit.

Matthews’ attorney did not return a request for comment before the newspaper’s print deadline.

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