Greene County could be forced to find a job for a former Greene County Children Services employee who was laid off in January.
An Ohio State Personnel Board of Review administrative judge determined the county should have allowed Victoria Phillips to “displace,” or bump, into another job within the county.
Phillips was an executive secretary with the children service’s agency when she received a letter dated Dec. 2, 2012 signed by two county commissioners indicating her job would be eliminated a month later. The letter said she had no displacement rights — the ability to takeover a similar position held by someone with less seniority.
Phillips had been in that job for almost two years and was earning $32,281.60 annually. She started working at the agency as a temporary secretary/receptionist on July 11, 2001, according to county personnel records.
Phillips, 56, filed an appeal with SPBR two days after she received the layoff notice. After she filed the appeal, the county human resources director sent her an email notifying her about a vacant position, but she did not apply for the job.
“I didn’t apply for any jobs with the county because I believe I had bumping rights,” Phillips said in an interview. “I should have been put into a position without having to apply for it.”
Phillips said she believed she would have to start over as a new employee if she applied and accepted another job within the county.
“If I applied for a position, that would mean I didn’t believe in what I was fighting for,” she said.
In a May hearing at the SPBR office in Columbus, Greene County Human Resources Director Ken Johnson testified Phillips was not considered, or given bumping rights, for other positions that had secretarial duties because these positions were in a different classification series.
The administrative judge issued his report and recommendation on August 23, 2013 after the hearing in Columbus. In addition to Johnson, the county’s jobs and family director, Beth Rubin, also testified on behalf of the county. Witnesses for Phillips included the former interim director for children services, Susan Alberter, and herself.
The executive secretary position was one of four positions eliminated when Greene County commissioners combined its children services agency with jobs and family services on Nov. 19, 2012. The agency’s executive director, the operations director and the human resources supervisor positions were also abolished.
The operations director was the only individual offered a new position after the agencies merged. The human resources manager applied, and was later hired, for another position within the county.
No executive secretarial positions existed after the reorganization, however Christopher R. Yong, the administrative judge, determined Phillips’ job should have been reclassified before it was eliminated.
Howard Poston, the Greene County administrator, said the county plans to appeal the judge’s decision, which was issued Aug. 23..
“I think some of the (judge’s) interpretations of the code are incorrect,” Poston said.
More online: Read past stories about this issue and other Greene County topics at MyDaytonDailyNews.com.