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Perrysburg council calls for investigation into firing of prosecutor

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    Perrysburg City Council President Jim Matuszak wants an investigation into the firing of the city's assistant prosecutor.

    The Blade
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Perrysburg City Council President Jim Matuszak is calling for an investigation into the termination of the city’s assistant prosecutor.

The move follows a controversial vote earlier this week when council voted 4-3 to reject the appointment of Chynna Fifer to the city’s top prosecutor job. Mr. Matuszak said assistant prosecutor Corey Spewiek was fired the next morning.

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“I received a phone call from the assistant prosecutor telling me he was just delivered a letter by the police department terminating him,” Mr. Matuszak said. “He was on his way to his office at the city with sheriff’s deputies to pick up his belongings around 8 a.m.

“If the timing of this doesn’t seem odd to a reasonable person, it’s probably an unreasonable person.”

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Ms. Fifer was recommended for the city prosecutor position by Mayor Tom Mackin, law director Karlene Henderson, and outgoing prosecutor P. Martin Aubry.

Mr. Aubry is leaving his post as Perrysburg’s prosecutor March 31. He is listed as Ms. Fifer’s top reference.

Mr. Matuszak, Haraz Ghanbari, Barry VanHoozen, and Deborah Born voted against the appointment, citing the speed of the process and the lack of advertising for the position.

Mr. Matuszak released a letter Friday calling for an investigation into the firing, labeling it “politically motivated.”

According to a contract obtained by The Blade, Mr. Spewiek’s term as an independent contractor expired at the end of 2016. Mr. Matuszak said the firing was without cause but said he did not know who ordered it.

The termination letter, signed by Ms. Henderson, states Mr. Spewiek’s “services to the City of Perrysburg were appreciated but are no longer necessary due to departmental changes.”

Mayor Mackin could not be reached for comment Friday.

Councilman Tim McCarthy took issue with multiple aspects of Mr. Matuszak’s letter and said he believes the “gang of four” — those who voted against Ms. Fifer’s appointment — held an illegal meeting in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

“The arrogance of this release is astonishing,” Mr. McCarthy said. “It was supposedly issued by the office of city council and states council is calling for an investigation. No vote was taken.”

Mr. Matuszak put his name at the top of the letter and said the letter came from him personally and was not drafted on behalf of council. In his email containing the letter, he described it as “Council’s request for an investigation.”

Contact Jay Skebba at jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebbaBlade.

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