City to vote on $120,000 settlement to Hughes and her attorneys

YOUNGSTOWN — Lyndsey Hughes, a city employee found to be sexually harassed on the job, will receive $72,000 and her attorneys will get $48,000 as part of a settlement agreement.

The Vindicator obtained a copy this morning of the agreement reached between the two sides. City council is to vote at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today to pay a $50,000 deductible to to HCC Public Risk Claim Service, the city’'s insurance company, to resolve the complaint.

The deal calls for Hughes to give up her job as downtown director of events, special projects and marketing.

Hughes, who made $41,125 in annual salary, will receive two $36,000 payments — one will be for wages with tax withholding and the other, without withholding, for "exacerbation of physical or psychological condition," according to the settlement agreement.

Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, is trying to convince her fellow council members to hire Terrill Vidale, a local event promoter, to replace Hughes as temporary downtown director. Vidale was at a council meeting two weeks ago at which Gillam unsuccessfully tried to convince the other members to select him.

Hughes has been off work since March 28, invoking the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows her to use sick and vacation time she has accrued and still get paid. It isn’'t known if all that time has been used.

A Dec. 6 report conducted on behalf of the city concluded that DeMaine Kitchen — a former chief of staff/secretary to the former mayor, Charles Sammarone, and also a former city councilman —sexually harassed Hughes.

That report included an admission from Kitchen, a failed 2013 mayoral candidate, that he made inappropriate and flirtatious remarks to Hughes both verbally and through text messages.

Hughes told an investigator hired by the city that the harassment by Kitchen started in late 2009 when he was the 2nd Ward councilman, and was off and on until July 2013 when she had an attorney contact the law director about the behavior.

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