Trumbull prosecutor seeks opinion on sick-leave donation

By Ed Runyan


The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office has asked the Ohio Attorney General’s office for a legal opinion on seven questions relating to the donation of sick-leave time.

Bill Danso, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor who provides legal advice to the county commissioners, said it’s likely it will take several months for the answers to come back.

Sick-time donation got public attention in August, when Nancy Guerini complained she was being denied the opportunity to receive donated sick-leave time from co-workers at the Trumbull County Engineer’s office, despite the option being available to many other county employees.

Guerini, 51, has breast cancer and used all of her own sick time. On Aug. 1, she had to start paying about $400 per month to keep her medical insurance.

In the weeks that followed, county commissioners created a policy they believed would cover all county employees, but numerous legal questions arose.

Among them were county Engineer Randy Smith’s questions about whether a countywide policy created by the commissioners applied to departments such as his since the county engineer’s office has a separate funding source than the county commissioners.

That is one of the questions being asked to the Ohio Attorney General. The others are:

Can offices such as Smith’s create their own sick-leave donation policy?

Can the county commissioners adopt multiple policies tailored to individual agencies?

Can an office such as a county engineer’s vary its sick-leave donation policy from the policy adopted by county commissioners?

What effect does a sick-leave donation policy enacted by county commissioners have on existing collective-bargaining agreements that contain sick-leave donation provisions?

Can county commissioners adopt a sick-leave donation policy that provides retroactive benefits to employees of elected officials such as a county engineer?

Can a policy lawfully allow or deny donation of sick-leave time between various county agencies?

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