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Planning commission hasn’t acted on director

Nuskievicz on leave since July

WARREN — The Trumbull County Planning Commission Board hasn’t released a report investigating allegations of bullying against the Trumbull County engineer filed by planning director and hasn’t taken any action on it.

A briefing on it held in a private, three-hour executive session was held nearly a month ago.

Trish Nuskievicz, executive director of the Trumbull County Planning Commission has been on medically-approved leave from her position since July, after she wrote Jim Shader, the prior chairman of the planning board who resigned shortly after he received it.

In the letter, Nuskievicz said the leave was necessary because she developed “serious health-related conditions that have been caused from working in a very hostile work environment.” Her condition is a result of “intense psychological abuse, bullying, retaliation, discrimination and general harassment brought about by Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith and his associates,” Nuskievicz stated in the letter.

Smith denies the allegations and has said he couldn’t have created a hostile work environment because the two don’t work directly together in the same office, and rarely interacted with each other.

In her letter to Shader, Nuskievicz claims Smith turned against her when she wouldn’t recommend bending the rules on a housing development project and then attempted to undermine her constantly.

The board hired an outside investigator with the County Risk Sharing Authority of Ohio, a not-for-profit corporation that offers property and liability insurance to its members, to look into Nuskievicz’s allegations.

At their January meeting, the board heard from the investigator behind closed doors. After the meeting, they took no action. At their February meeting Tuesday, the board met privately for less than hour to discuss “personnel” and when they reconvened, took no action.

The board is not inclined, at this time, to waive attorney-client privilege and is keeping the report confidential, said Robert Marino Jr., president of the board.

Marino said he could not answer any questions about the future of the board’s director. Nuskievicz is barred from speaking about the issue, under threat of termination.

Nuskievicz is paid $84,138. Nicholas Coggins, the commission’s head of economic development, is the interim director.

Shortly after Nuskievicz wrote the letter to the former chairman, Smith filed a lawsuit in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court against her and her wife, Heidi Nuskievicz, claiming defamation. Heidi Nuskievicz filed a counter suit.

Smith claims the couple made malicious statements about him. The counter suit states the original suit was only filed to “exact revenge and retribution” against the two.

The case is being heard before visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove, because Smith is an elected official.

Nuskievicz used vacation and sick time for the first few months of leave, but is no longer being paid.

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