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Fri. 9:30 a.m.: Frenchko-Klotz hearing again postponed

WARREN – The oft-postponed hearing about whether the Trumbull County commissioners’ clerk gets a permanent restraining order against one of her bosses on Friday was a victim of a winter snowstorm for the second time in a month.

Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove of Summit County informed court officials Thursday night that the scheduled Friday afternoon hearing on Clerk Paula Vivoda-Klotz’s request for a permanent protection order against Commissioner Niki Frenchko will have to be rescheduled at a later date because of the latest winter weather hazards. Court officials said the Zoom hearing will be reset for a new date, probably on Monday.

Cosgrove issued a temporary protection order against Frenchko on Jan. 7 and the hearing on a permanent order has now been postponed at least three times. The first was due to an attorneyás scheduling conflict and a Jan. 24 session had to be canceled because of a power outage at the Summit Courthouse where Cosgrove was going to be for the Zoom hearing.

After the Jan. 24, postponement Cosgrove amended the rules of the order. The new conditions will allow the two to work together in the same office site and communicate with each other for the official business of the county. The order includes that both parties must say at least 10 feet from the other at all times when in the commissioners’ office.

Cosgrove was assigned to hear the case by the Ohio Supreme Court after the judges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court recused themselves from the case.

The hearing stems from a complaint lodged against Frenchko by Vivoda-Klotz. The early January incident involved Frenchko allegedly following Vivoda-Klotz into Vivoda-Klotz’s office, closing the door behind them and locking it, according to a sheriff’s report. There was video of the incident. On the video, Vivoda-Klotz could be seen walking out of the office through a second door with Frenchko following her.

Frenchko, the lone Republican on the three-person board, has claimed these legal actions against her have been politically motivated by her two Democratic colleagues.

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