Clark County clerk loses lawsuit over direct deposit


A judge ruled Monday that Clark County Auditor John Federer didn’t withhold the paycheck of the county common pleas court clerk and committed “no wrongful” acts against him.

Clark County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts Ron Vincent filed a lawsuit in August against Federer, demanding his paychecks that had been withheld since January 2015. Vincent hadn’t received more than $21,000 in pay when the lawsuit was filed.

But visiting Retired Greene County Judge J. Timothy Campbell ruled in favor of Federer on all four counts and said Vincent could receive all of his pay by merely submitting a direct deposit form to Federer and all his money would be placed in his account.

Federer said he was pleased the court case was over and that it’s time for officials to move on for the “greater good of the community.”

He reiterated that the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayer money.

“I’m disturbed that an elected official, either new or seasoned, would take the position that this elected official took for whatever reason. The time and burden at the expense of the taxpayer, to the staff of the auditor’s office and to others throughout county government was unnecessary and short-sided by the plaintiff,” Federer said.

Clark County judges and prosecutors recused themselves from the case, which resulted in the state appointing Campbell to handle it and the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office to represent Federer.

Vincent, however, still claims that Federer stole his identity and established a bank account in his name at Security National Bank and provided Vincent’s personal information, including his Social Security Number, without Vincent’s knowledge.

“I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. The issue was that he stole my identity more than direct deposit,” Vincent said on Monday.

Vincent said he probably won’t appeal Campbell’s order.

Federer denied Vincent’s claims of identity theft.

“I’m sorry he feels that way. But it’s indicative of what he’s put the county through so far,” Federer said. “There was an account for his benefit that he had to go in and sign up for. We told him for months that he needed to go into Security and get it set up … There was no identity stolen here.”

Campbell noted that testimony in the case disclosed that Vincent receives his Social Security and payment from the Ohio Supreme Court for services for the Court of Appeals by direct deposit. The state also allows the county auditor “discretionary authority” to adopt a policy requiring employees and public officials to be paid by direct deposit, the judge said, but doesn’t say whether those on the county payroll can opt out.

“To allow those who are subject to the policy to choose their method of payment would result in chaos; some could require payment by electronic deposit; some require payment by check; some require payment in cash; some require payment in coin, etc.,” Campbell’s ruling says.

The county auditor’s office established a policy in 2012 requiring all public employees be paid by direct deposit, but state law at the time excluded elected officials. The law was amended to include elected officials in 2014.

Federer said Vincent, a public official, took a personal position that “eroded the public confidence.”

Vincent, when asked if he would use direct deposit to receive his paychecks, said he didn’t know because he hadn’t read the judge’s order yet.

He disputed the claim that the lawsuit wasted taxpayer dollars.

“He stole my identity and then opened up an account in my name without my authorization. That’s kind of scary,” Vincent said.

Federer shot back that Vincent needs to look up in the dictionary what identity theft means.

Costs associated with the lawsuit must be paid by Vincent, Campbell ruled.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Solutions from local opioid forums presented to state leaders
Solutions from local opioid forums presented to state leaders

Proposed solutions to Ohio’s addiction crisis that grew out of a collaboration between journalists and local communities will be presented to Gov. John Kasich’s office. Through a series of community forums, including five in southwest Ohio in February, journalists with Your Voice Ohio heard from an estimated 500 individuals who have been...
What is State Issue 1 on the May ballot?
What is State Issue 1 on the May ballot?

On May 8, Ohio voters will decide on major changes to how Ohio draws district lines for members of Congress. The issue, put on the ballot by the General Assembly by a bi-partisan vote of 83-10 in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate, is supposed to create a fairer process. After every census, Ohio lawmakers change the state’s congressional...
Gov. Kasich orders review of Ohio gun background check program
Gov. Kasich orders review of Ohio gun background check program

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Monday to get an update on weaknesses in the state’s gun background-check system. Failure by local courts and law enforcement to send timely data to the state, which forwards it to National Instant Criminal Background Check System, could mean guns are being purchased by people who are ineligible...
Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary
Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary

Four years ago, Ohio Democrats pushed hard for a gubernatorial candidate who looked good on paper and found one: Ed FitzGerald. The campaign was soon run aground by scandal — including news reports that he had been questioned by police after they found him in a parked car in the early morning hours with a woman who was not his wife — and...
Fire Mueller? Don’t do it, Ohio Republicans say
Fire Mueller? Don’t do it, Ohio Republicans say

Most Ohio lawmakers on Capitol Hill — including Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton — say it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, though taking action to block the president from doing so has more opposition among local Republicans. “We need to let Special Counsel...
More Stories