Third Case Filed By Fired, Rehired, Then Fired Sheriff’s Deputy

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Another appeal has been filed with the State Personnel Board of Review concerning the second termination of a former Athens County sheriff’s office deputy.

A case filed in late March by Shannon Sheridan is the third filed since his initial termination in June 2012. The case filed in 2012 dealt with the initial termination — which he won and was rehired — while the cases filed in December 2014 and March 2015 both deal with him being fired again last year.

The new case comes following the filing of an additional document regarding the 2014 termination of Sheridan. According to Matt Baker who is representing the sheriff’s office in the matter, there was an issue over whether or not a specific form needed to be submitted. With that form, the person is given 10 days to appeal, versus 90 days to file an appeal without the form, said Baker. The form was submitted on March 25 to cover any potential issue that may arise from it not previously having been filed.

Sheridan was fired by then-sheriff Patrick Kelly in 2012 amid allegations of insubordination and sexual harassment. (Sheridan claims in a federal lawsuit that he was fired in retaliation for making negative comments about Kelly to voters.)
Sheridan appealed that termination to the board and the board agreed with a recommendation by an administrative law judge that Sheridan be reinstated. The sheriff’s office had been appealing the decision, but when Rodney Smith came in after Kelly’s suspension on criminal charges, the interim sheriff decided to negotiate with Sheridan. The appeals process is still ongoing, according to documents filed in Athens County Common Pleas Court.

Sheridan was back on active duty in May 2014, but by the end of August was again under investigation for similar allegations.

Sheridan was placed on leave in August after an investigation began into a woman’s claim that Sheridan had “conducted himself in an unprofessional and inappropriate manner,” according to the findings of the pre-disciplinary hearing overseen by attorney Gerald A. Mollica.

Mollica wrote that the sheriff could discipline Sheridan “up to and including discharge from employment.”

On Dec. 1, 2014, Sheridan was terminated once again, this time following a report showing 19 alleged violations of policy and procedures.

According to a brief filed by Sheridan in mid-March in the case pending before the board in the 2014 firing, the parties are awaiting the decision from Athens County Common Pleas Court in the appeal of the first firing.

A status conference in the court case was held on March 10. Since that time the lone entry filed was to combine the two pending civil cases in Athens County Common Pleas Court.

According to the brief filed with the board, should Sheridan prevail in the pending appeal, the court would strike part of the board’s order in the 2012 case which required Sheridan to be subject to a last-chance agreement. It further states that Sheridan would expect to be paid the back pay and benefits he is due.

If the sheriff’s office were to prevail in the court case, according to the filing, Sheridan would then appeal to the court of appeals.