Trumbull officials to hire attorney to investigate alleged harassment of planning executive

By Ed Runyan


The Trumbull County Planning Commission has authorized the hiring of a law firm to investigate allegations made by its executive director, Trish Nuskievicz, that she has been victimized by psychological abuse, bullying, retaliation, discrimination and harassment from county Engineer Randy Smith and his associates.

The planning commission directed Trumbull County Human Resources director Richard Jackson to hire Atty. Kimberly Riley of the firm of Montgomery, Renne & Johnson of Cleveland to investigate the allegations. If Riley is not available, Jackson is authorized to hire Atty. Douglas Duckett of Cincinnati.

The board also voted to direct the planning commission staff to have no discussion regarding Nuskievicz’s allegations with anyone not authorized by the planning commission.

Failure to abide by the resolution could lead to disciplinary action, including termination, the resolution says.

Nuskievicz submitted a letter to the planning commission’s chairman, Jim Shader, on July 5, saying the abuse has caused her to request medical leave and treatment for health conditions “caused from working in a very hostile work environment.”

The board later authorized Nicholas Coggins, commission economic development coordinator, to fill in during Nuskievicz’s absence.

Meanwhile, Smith filed a defamation lawsuit Monday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court against Trish Nuskievicz and her wife, Heidi Nuskievicz, over their recent allegations against Smith.

Heidi Nuskievicz read a letter on the matter at the July 11 county commissioners meeting, asking the commissioners to “put a stop” to bullying and retaliation.

Smith’s lawsuit says the statements made by Trish and Heidi Nuskievicz were made “for no legitimate business or personal purpose and were known to be false and were made with reckless disregard for the truth.”

The suit seeks at least $25,000 each from Trish and Heidi Nuskievicz for damages and $25,000 each for punitive damages.

An attempt to reach Trish or Heidi Nuskievicz on Monday was unsuccessful.

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