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The Suburbanite
  • Civil Service Commission weighs fate of city workers

  • The Civil Service Commission will not make a decision in the retire and rehire investigation for at least a few weeks. A hearing on the matter took place Wednesday.

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  • The Civil Service Commission has not decided yet whether to reinstate 11 city employees who were fired because the city says they were not rehired properly after retiring.
    Following a nearly three-hour hearing Wednesday, the commission’s attorney asked the city law department and two attorneys representing the former employees to complete reports by March 14 outlining their views on retire and rehire procedures as they relate to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS).
    A commission decision is at least a few weeks away.
    In November, the city launched an investigation into the retirement and rehiring practices related to roughly 30 employees. The workers, both union and non-union positions, had retired for pension purposes only, while continuing their same city job uninterrupted and at the same pay and benefit level.
    The practice, known as double-dipping, is legal under (OPERS) law. However, the city administration says the 30 former employees, plus a few others who had permanently retired after following the same practice, filled out paperwork with PERS and through the city auditor’s office, but did not get the approval of their appointing authority.
    Wednesday’s hearing focused on 11 civil service employees and their appeal. The fired employees answered questions from the law department and the attorneys representing the group.
    Commission members also asked questions.
    The workers were dismissed in mid-January because the city said they could not legally be retained.
    Union workers who were fired must follow a different track for their appeals and those also are pending.
    The state auditor’s office is conducting a financial review related to the retire and rehire investigation. The FBI has wrapped up its investigation, concluding that no criminal charges are warranted.