Wife of accuser: Stop the abuse

Staff report


The wife of Trish Nuskievicz asked that Trumbull County commissioners “put a stop” to the bullying and retaliation she says has been directed by the county engineer’s office toward the planning commission’s executive director.

“I am deeply saddened at the lack of help Trumbull County men in power have been unwilling to give to a woman asking for their help,” Heidi Nuskievicz said, reading a statement at Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting. Trish Nuskievicz is the planning commission’s executive director.

“If it were your mother, daughter, sister, grandmother or granddaughter that was being treated the same way she has been treated, I think you would be doing the right thing and helping,” she said.

She was referring to a letter Trish Nuskievicz read Tuesday to her planning commission board in which she alleged she has been the victim of psychological abuse orchestrated by Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith “and his associates.”

Trish Nuskievicz said her conflict with Smith began in September 2016 over a subdivision regulation Smith did not like.

She said in her letter that county Commissioner Frank Fuda was “particularly aggressive” in arguing about the regulation. She said Fuda also asked a planning-commission member whether Trish Nuskievicz “only hired female candidates,” a remark she viewed to be a reference to her being “a married, gay woman.”

Trish Nuskievicz is on sick leave and says her doctor has diagnosed her as having health issues caused by “a hostile work environment.”

Atty. Matt Blair, who represents the county engineer’s office, said the office “takes great exception” with Trish Nuskievicz’s letter, and Smith denies that he “harbors animosity toward the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community.”

Blair said he has attende d a couple of meetings regarding subdivision regulations and performance bonds. Steve Papalas, director of government affairs for the county engineer, has regularly attended planning commission meetings, county commissioner meetings and trustees meetings as a routine part of his job, Blair said.

“I don’t know why she would perceive that as harassment,” Blair said.

Fuda, when asked Wednesday about Trish Nuskievicz’ allegations, said he doesn’t remember making a remark about hiring females and said, “I don’t know what she means by harassment.”

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