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Commission rejects request for full hearing on job loss



Published: Thu, November 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



'You just fall through the cracks,' a commission member told the ex-employee.

By AMANDA GARRETT

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city's civil service commission turned down a former Warren City Schools truant officer's request for a full hearing on the loss of his job.

Nick Bellas requested in September that the commission grant him a full hearing, but commission members said at a Wednesday meeting that Bellas' employment status made him ineligible for a civil service commission hearing.

The school district's lawyers argued that Bellas was an administrative employee, which under Ohio law means he can be hired and fired by the district at will.

In contrast, Bellas said his position was similar to that of a maintenance worker, which would give him the right to a full hearing in front of the commission.

"To say that I was an administrator is ridiculous," he said. "I make several thousand dollars less than other administrators, and I never set any board of education policy."

The three commission members agreed with the school board's argument, deciding that Bellas did not have any right to have a hearing in front of the commission.

Bellas is one of only five or six school district employees who is not covered by either a union or civil service, commission member John J. DiCenso Jr. said.

"It appears that you just fall through the cracks," he said to Bellas.

Bellas' position was abolished this year along with 131/2 teaching positions and several secretarial positions because of reduced funds, said Frank Caputo, executive director of personnel, professional development and recruitment.

Enrollment makes up a large part of state funding, and Warren schools lost enrollment from pupils leaving to attend charter schools.

The school district lost 2.6 million because of charter schools in 2006, according to the district's five-year financial forecast.




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