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Published: Tuesday, 9/11/2007

Fired aide often disciplined

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Preparing for a press conference yesterday were, from left, the Rev. Stephen Ward, Gary Daugherty, Dwayne Morehead, and the Rev. Alvin Griffin. Preparing for a press conference yesterday were, from left, the Rev. Stephen Ward, Gary Daugherty, Dwayne Morehead, and the Rev. Alvin Griffin.
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Dwayne Morehead, who got a $48,500-a-year city job after volunteering in the mayoral campaign of Carty Finkbeiner and was fired last month, was disciplined or counseled 11 times during Jack Ford's administration, mostly for poor attendance.

The Finkbeiner administration gave Mr. Morehead's employment record to reporters yesterday after a member of the Board of Community Relations attacked the mayor for firing Mr. Morehead Aug. 22.

Mr. Morehead, 34, a former administrative specialist assigned to work with central-city youth in the Board of Community Relations, was fired for "job abandonment" after he allegedly failed to report to work for five days without informing his director.

The Rev. Stephen Ward, a BCR member, yesterday came to Mr. Morehead's defense, saying Mr. Morehead's personnel problems under Mr. Finkbeiner began after he sided with Perlean Griffin, who was fired as the city's executive director of affirmative action and contract compliance in March.

Mr. Morehead became co-executive director of the city's youth commission in January, 2006, after campaigning with Mr. Finkbeiner for mayor in 2005. The mayor said he had not been aware of Mr. Morehead's previous employment history, and that Mr. Morehead performed adequately in 2006 and early 2007, until his March reassignment to the community-relations board.

The reassignment included a $3,500 pay cut, to $45,000. Mr. Finkbeiner said yesterday that the move was financially motivated and that all "gross insubordinations" had occurred since then.

Mr. Ward called for an investigation by the NAACP and the Greater Toledo Urban League. He accused the BCR of having an ethical conflict for not addressing the allegation of racism within its department. Mr. Ward also noted that Mr. Morehead was nominated for recognition as the city's 2006 Employee of the Year.

Juanita Greene, the Board of Community Relations' executive director who signed Mr. Morehead's termination letter Aug. 22, said the board has no oversight of city employees. City employees' complaints are routed through the Office of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance, she said.

Mr. Morehead has filed a discrimination complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

"We send a clarion call that Mr. Dwayne Morehead has been fired due to retaliation," said Mr. Ward, who repeated Mr. Morehead's contention that he had a medical release to stay home from work.

Mayor Ford's administration hired Mr. Morehead in 2002 as an athletic activities aide at a salary of $23,156, and he later became a utility worker in the water treatment division.

Mr. Morehead's disciplinary record includes charges in 2003 of unexcused absences from work, gross insubordination, failure to observe a commissioner's directive, conduct unbecoming a city employee, violation of the city's residency requirement, and violation of sick leave.

He was suspended from work for 18 days, of which 11 were held in abeyance until later that year, when five more days were enforced after continuing failure to comply with the residency requirement and a reprimand for errors in paperwork involving coaches.

In 2004, he was counseled over leaving the city ice rink in bad condition. In 2005, he was counseled three times for unexcused absences. The record contains no disciplinary actions for 2006 or 2007 until his transfer to BCR.

Emily Lewis, Mr. Morehead's attorney from Columbus, said she had not seen his personnel file but believes many of his absences should have been permitted under the Family and Medical Leave Act. His doctor submitted appropriate paperwork, but the administration refused to believe the doctor, she said.

"He has a serious health condition that's entitled to Family and Medical Leave absences," she said.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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