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Union seeks arbitration over fired city worker Kisha Jackson

WARREN — The union representing a fired city worker on Wednesday said it still plans to seek an arbitration hearing, believing she was not given an opportunity to defend herself properly in a predisciplinary hearing before being terminated earlier this year.

Kisha Jackson on April 28 pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft in office, during an arraignment before municipal Judge Thomas Gysegem. Attorney David Engler was assigned to represent her in the criminal procedures. She was assigned a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. A special prosecutor was assigned.

A June 25 hearing before Gysegem has been set.

Jackson was fired March 3 as the city’s events coordinator and purchasing coordinator by Safety Service Director Eddie Colbert after being accused of not turning over $2,740 from cash donations she collected for the Christmas on the Square Committee during 2019. Colbert said he conducted an investigation in which he concluded that Jackson failed to turn over cash payments.

Engler and union official D.J. Sferra each have argued the longtime city employee should have been placed on paid leave and given a pre-disciplinary hearing.

The city and its unions agreed last month to delay all hearings due to the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine as part of Ohio’s effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, according to Sferra.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 2501 union represents members of the city’s management.

The agreement ends this month.

“We expect to move forward with this,” Sferra said. “She was not given her due process and was wrongfully terminated. She was not given the same treatment as others previously indicted on theft charges.”

Sferra said the two sides will choose an arbiter from a list of seven to hear evidence from the case.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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