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YOUNGSTOWN Agency sues over lost contract, workers



Published: Fri, November 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The agency says its business suffered when it lost a contract for about 150 positions in the Mahoning County schools.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Ryan Alternative Staffing has filed a $1.4 million lawsuit against a competing staffing agency and the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, accusing them of a practice known in the industry as "temp-napping."

The lawsuit claims the competitor, Callos Professional Employment Inc., won an educational service center account Boardman-based Ryan had held for several years, then unjustly retained Ryan employees to do the same work at the same locations.

Conspiracy alleged: County school officials conspired with Callos, the suit says, in a plan allowing Ryan temporary employees to transition to the Callos payroll without permission of Ryan or compensation to Ryan.

Callos, also based in Boardman, was able to save money and time by not having to recruit or train new employees, the suit states, and so was able to bid on the county contract at a lower rate and win the account.

The suit was filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court this week against Callos Professional Employment Inc. and the educational service center. William Hyde, center superintendent, Thomas Romack, its director of administration and Joyce Brooks, center board president, are also named as defendants.

Callos' reaction: Tom Walsh, Callos president, said he had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment specifically. "We knew it might be coming," he said. "The outcome will reflect the lack of merits of the case."

Center officials could not be reached for comment.

Ryan began providing payrolling services in 1992 for 10 to 15 employees in the county schools, the suit states, and in 1997 the relationship expanded to give Ryan responsibility to recruit, screen, hire, orient and supervise employees.

150 employees: By January, when the MCESC began seeking proposals for staffing services, the number of employees had grown to 150 and included teacher aides, student assistants, cooks and janitors. The center's request for proposals mirrored the list of services Ryan provided and included a clause suggesting that the center planned to retain the same employees if a new service company was selected, the suit says.

MCESC voted in May to award its staffing business to Callos and subsequently encouraged Ryan employees to sign up with Callos, the suit states, despite Ryan's written objections that the action was "neither ethical, moral or legal."

Ryan's suit accuses Callos and the center officials of conspiracy, and accuses all or some of the defendants of breach of express or implied contract and interfering with a contractual and business relationship. Ryan is asking for $1.4 million in compensatory and general damages and additional punitive damages. The case is assigned to Judge Jack Durkin.

vinarsky@vindy.com




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