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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

Owens V.P. dismissed in 06 sues college

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dettling Dettling
HO Enlarge

A former Owens Community College administrator has sued the college in federal court, claiming his March, 2006, dismissal was illegal because he was serving in the Army Reserve at the time.

Gary Dettling, who was vice president of college advancement as well as president and chief executive officer of the college s foundation, filed the lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

He claimed that the college s president, Christa Adams, eliminated his position while he was on duty in the Reserve, in violation of a law that allows citizen soldiers to maintain their employment.

Our country is fortunate to have laws that protect our citizen soldiers employment rights while they provide military service to protect us, said attorney Francis Landry, who filed the lawsuit on Mr. Dettling s behalf.

Mr. Landry declined further comment because the case is pending in court.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Dettling had a two-year contract with the college from July, 2005, through June, 2007, for a total compensation of almost $127,000.

In February, 2006, Mr. Dettling, a major in the Army Reserve, notified the college that he would be leaving for military duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., from Feb. 27 through March 3 of that year.

When he returned, he received a memo dated March 2, 2006, from Ms. Adams that his position as vice president of college advancement had been eliminated, effective March 6, 2006, and that he was removed from his position at the foundation, effective the same day.

Mr. Landry declined comment on why Mr. Dettling waited two years to file the lawsuit or whether he is employed.

The complaint asks for compensation in excess of $500,000.

The case was assigned to Judge James Carr.

Owens spokesman Brad Meyer said the lawsuit was referred to the Ohio Attorney General s Office. Mr. Meyer declined further comment.



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