POINT PLEASANT – A Mason County deputy sheriff is continuing to challenge his boss's decision earlier this year to fire him.
Robert H. Glenn on Aug. 18 appealed to Mason Circuit Court the county's Civil Service Commission ruling affirming Sheriff David Anthony's decision terminating him following allegations he made an inappropriate comment in March about a female student at Hannan High School. In his appeal, Glenn maintains the Commission should have ruled in his favor based both on the evidence presented during a recent hearing, and Anthony's failure to follow state law regarding disciplinary action.
According to his appeal, Glenn was hired as a deputy sheriff on Oct. 15, 2006. On a date not specified, he was assigned to work as the school resource officer at HHS.
In a letter dated March 18, Anthony informed Glenn he was being suspended pending completion of an investigation regarding a comment he made about a T-shirt Kelsey Williams recently wore to HHS. Five students reported to the principal that Glenn said a Hooter's T-Shirt Williams wore should've said mosquito bites.
According to his appeal, Glenn was informed a week later via letter he'd been fired. Immediately, he appealed his termination to the Commission.
Following a hearing on April 11, the Commission on May 20 by a 2-0 vote affirmed Anthony's decision to fire Glenn. Commissioners Bob R. Powers and Matt Musgrave found just cause for Glenn's termination while Commissioner David K. "Cheyenne" Simpson was not present for the hearing.
In his appeal, Glenn challenges the Commission's just-cause finding. The evidence supporting it, he says, is not only unreliable, but also false.
Aside from denying he ever made it, Glenn maintains the allegation leveled against him stems from only one student, Cade McCoy, who testified Glenn pulled him aside and made the comment about Williams' T-shirt. The four other students merely repeated what McCoy repeated to Williams what Glenn allegedly said.
According to Glenn, the allegations were concocted by Williams as a way to have him removed as HHS' school resource officer. During the hearing, he offered as evidence testimony from Morgan Dunham who said she heard Williams talking with another student about ways to get him fired as they were upset with him "strictly enforcing the rules and handing out detention."
Assuming he made the comment, Glenn says Anthony's decision to fire him is extreme since this was first time he'd been accused of unprofessional behavior. In his appeal, Glenn cited testimony Anthony made during the Commission's hearing his failure to recall any previous disciplinary action taken against Glenn, and departmental policy stating that termination is only a last resort form of punishment.
"The information before [Anthony] a [sic] the time of termination and record of the Hearing cannot be substantial proof of misconduct warranting termination of a four and one-half year employee with no disciplinary history," Glenn said in is appeal.
"[Anthony] chose to terminate [Glenn] based on an alleged statement that [he] denied making. [Anthony] chose to accept the word of a minor over that of a seasoned civil service employee when no supporting evidence exists."
Furthermore, Glenn maintains the Commission erred in upholding his firing in overlooking the fact Anthony did not provide him a pre-disciplinary hearing as set forth in state law, and affirmed in the state Supreme Court's 2009 decision in Burgess v. Moore. According to Glenn's appeal, Anthony testified during the hearing he formed a three-member pre-disciplinary panel, but had yet to get it approved, and never informed Glenn of his right to request a pre-disciplinary hearing.
"The Civil Service Commission seems to hold that [Glenn] was at fault for not requesting a pre-disciplinary hearing which is contrary to the law which imposes the burden on [Anthony]," Glenn said in his appeal. "The evidence is clear that no notice of a pre-disciplinary hearing, including the time and place, was provided by [Anthony] to [Glenn]."
In his appeal, Glenn asks for an order vacating the Commission's decision, and reinstatement as deputy sheriff. He seeks full back pay, attorney fees and court costs.
Glenn is represented by Gallipolis, Ohio, attorney Michael N. Eachus. The case is assigned to Judge Thomas C. Evans III.
Mason Circuit Court case number 11-AA-95