Officer sues mayor for suspension

LISBON – A Wellsville police lieutenant filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court requesting back pay and benefits for a three-day suspension issued in late January by Mayor Susan Haugh.

Lt. Edward Wilson claims Haugh had no authority to suspend him because he claims only Police Chief Joe Scarabino has the authority under Ohio Revised Code.

Besides back pay and benefits, Wilson is seeking to have any records of the disciplinary action removed from his personnel file with the department. That would include a letter of reprimand dated Jan. 31 and signed by Haugh. The letter had a place for Wilson to sign, but in a similar handwriting to Haugh’s the line states “Lt Wilson Refused to sign.”

According to the letter, Haugh said she was greatly concerned by Wilson’s behavior at 1:55 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, when Wellsville’s representative on the Columbiana County Drug Task Force “did nothing more than to extend his hand to shake yours and said, ‘How ya doing boss’?”

Haugh claims Wilson responded to the DTF agent by saying, “Put that hand down or I’ll knock you to the floor.” He then reportedly shoved the agent into the doorway with his forearm, pushed through Haugh’s office door and approached her in an intimidating manner.

It is the media’s policy not to name members of the Drug Task Force.

The letter went on to state Wilson’s conduct was “unacceptable and requires correction.” She went on to request he leave immediately and suspended him from 8 a.m. Feb. 3 through 8 a.m. Feb. 6.

The letter further banned Wilson from being at the municipal building during that time, unless he had permission from her or the village administrator. It barred him from working extra details as a Wellsville police officer during the same period.

Haugh continued to suggest Wilson improve by observing departmental policies regarding his position as a supervisor, intimidation, hostile work environment and chain of command.

The lawsuit includes a request for documents, including Wilson’s complete personnel file and other documents related to Scarabino’s employment with the village and police department policies.