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Published: Thursday, 2/28/2008

Probable cause found in Wood bias dispute

BOWLING GREEN - The Ohio Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that an African-American deputy with the Wood County Sheriff's Office was passed over for a promotion because of his race.

James E. Kimble, 43, filed a discrimination complaint with the commission in April contending a Caucasian deputy with less experience was promoted to sergeant in charge of the environmental division over him in 2006.

The commission investigated the claim and refuted Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn's explanation that Deputy Kimble was not promoted because he did not issue as many citations as the other applicant.

Investigators found that a deputy's activity level was not one of the critieria for the job and that the white deputy had worked significant overtime hours during enforcement sweeps when citations are issued at a high rate. Deputy Kimble had not worked nearly as much overtime but had worked almost as many hours as an acting sergeant.

Toni Delgado, spokesman for the commission, said the sheriff's office has 10 days to request a reconsideration of the commission's finding.

If the finding is not reconsidered, it would proceed to a conciliation process where the commission would attempt to mediate a resolution. If that is not successful, the case would go to an administrative law judge and ultimately could wind up in Common Pleas Court.

Sheriff Wasylyshyn, who maintains that race had nothing to do with his decision to promote the white deputy, said he would ask for a reconsideration.

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