Ohio AG: Jimmy Hughes’ discrimination case has no merit


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Ohio Attorney General has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former Youngstown police chief who accused Youngstown State University of racial discrimination.

Jimmy Hughes claimed the university refused to consider his application to become the university’s police chief on the basis of race.

The university named Shawn Varso its chief of police effective May 1 of last year.

In a motion for summary judgment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the attorney general said Hughes’ application was submitted on March 23, 2017 – more than a month after the position was first advertised on Feb. 15 – and no applications submitted after March 10 were considered. Those “included applications from both white and minority applicants.”

Hughes’ lawsuit also accused the university of failing to advertise the vacancy in a lawful manner, but cited no evidence.

The attorney general’s filing details the search process conducted by the university which included postings to YSU’s website and to HigherEdJobs on Feb. 15.

Hughes contacted the university on April 4, and a university employee told him the search committee had already identified candidates for first-round interviews.

The motion asks Judge Sara Lioi, of U.S. District Court in Akron, to dismiss Hughes’ lawsuit. She has yet to rule on the motion.

Hughes had asked for $75,000 in compensatory damages along with punitive damages.

Mayor Jay Williams appointed Hughes as police chief in 2006. Hughes retired in 2011 after 34 years with the department.

Hughes ran for Mahoning County sheriff in 2012 and briefly campaigned for mayor in 2013 before dropping out of the race in July of that year.

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