Huron board restores Fox's pay; suspension stands

Embattled Huron Schools superindendent Fred Fox will be on paid leave as the investigation into his alleged misconduct continues.
Melissa Topey
Jun 25, 2012

Embattled Huron Schools superindendent Fred Fox will be on paid leave as the investigation into his alleged misconduct continues.

Fox was suspended without pay June 19 after a 3-2 vote by the Huron school board, which based its decision largely on a 50-page investigative report by the law firm McGown & Markling. (To review the report, click HERE.)

“Under advisement of legal counsel, suspending him without pay was not the best decision to preserve his rights to due process," board president Scott Slocum said Monday night. "We are backing up and trying to do right."

The board still intends to move foward with termination proceedings.

For more on what happened at Monday night's board meeting, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Register.

 

Comments

underthebridge

people only act this nuts about sex and money. 

worddrow811

Like I said, he has a right to defend himself and the board should not have had such a knee-jerk reaction. Will he get back pay for the past few weeks, I wonder?

I truly hope that people will learn from this to let their conscience be their guide and not their rush to judgements. We are all guilty of something.

Tmm

breah of life, you are an idiot!

underthebridge

"We are all guilty of something." represents a kind of dumbing down of the moral code that allows corruption to proliferate unchecked. 

Havinag an affair on work time?  No big deal. We are all gulty of something.  

Submit false reimbursements. No big deal. We are alll gulty of something. 

Permanently borrow tools paid for by taxayers? No big deal. We are all gultybof something. 

Steer contracts? Rig bids?  .... well You get the picture!

 

worddrow811

so we start off by name-calling do we? Nowhere did I say his behavior should be excused! 

The dumbing-down of the moral code is because the punishments do not fit the crimes, people.

The lawyers,  judges and juries have the ability to do something and don't. In case no one has noticed, the crimes and misdemeanors are based on degrees, first, second and felony,, etc. and therein lies the problem.

Stealing is stealing, murder is murder and hate is hate.There are no degrees!

He will and is getting his punishments and I am not excusing his behaviors.

Those of you who are crime-free should count your blessings, especially the next time you run a stop-sign and don't get caught or when you get undercharged at the checkout and don't let the clerk know. Those are crimes are they not? How is your moral compass now?

Azure Ray

 For a local issue that raised 400+ comments on the last update, you'd think the register could pull together something a little more in depth for anxious readers and/or those who couldn't attend the meeting tonight.  

allrhetoricanyway

Mr. Fox and Ms. McNulty should be ashamed of themselves...and truly nailed to the cross for their actions! What a couple of morons!! Thank GOD my children are out of school!!

wiredmama222

Did he steer this contract for the football field?  Did he get the the tax abatement?  Did he really steal anything?  Yes, it appears he may have had an affair which is his business and no one else's. 

So why did this board of Huron not follow the Sunshine law and do what is expected of them?  Why the hypocricy of the board?  why do they not have to follow the rules only cast stones at those who they say do not follow the rules?  I guess it is as the law professor said, "it depends on who's ox is being gored a the time".  He was so right.

Now that same board is back tracking to make sure they are covering their misguided tracks and doing so in a big hurry because they forgot to check with their attorney first.  Guess that was a big mistake on their part.  Hope someone read the new yellow book too. 

Informed

 wired, he made the affair the board's and Huron taxpayers' business the minute he used school district email and time to conduct it.  That is the same as stealing to me.  He was being paid to work and instead spent his time emailing, talking to, and seeing this woman--all during work hours.  And to make matters worse, he dragged an innocent person, Tanny Vonthron, into his web of lies.  

The board did follow the Sunshine Law.  They do not have to include the superintendent in executive session. So they realized they have to pay him temporarily until further procedures are followed.  They realized their mistake and corrected it.  Big deal.

 

Gardenman

I have heard two attorneys who I know that deal with Ohio employment law both say Fox has done nothing that is punishable by termination. Said if he is terminated he can sue and will probably get back pay, all his remaining pay in the contract and additional for emotional stress. Said he definitely has a case that is winable.

Informed

 Gardenman, they are wrong.  Do these lawyers know anything about either the Ohio Ethics Commission or the baord's contract wth Fox?  I doubt it.  The fact that he used district email and time to conduct his affair when he was supposed to be working alone is probably a fireable offense.  Add in the fact that he took almost $1000 worth of free golf plus discounted rooms from Kalahari, when he cannot accept anything over $25 in value is another one.   

Tsu Dho Nimh

wired mama

If Mr. Fox had an affair after 4:00 pm and did not use school email or use his email from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, it is not my concern.  But the emails, both school and personal are time stamped otherwise.    He was conducting his personal business on MY time and YOUR time..  I don't care how nice the field is.  He was wrong.  The Sunshine Law may have been violtated but has been correceted.  No matter what Mr. Fox has brought financially to the community, his actions are not acceptable.  Don't be surprised when ODE revokes his professional licenses.  It won't matter what you or I think, he won't be employable. Just sayin'

 

wiredmama222

@TsuDhoNimh....With all due respect, do you think that because they corrected his pay while on temporary dismissal, the this board of yours has "corrected" their sunshine viiolations?  You cannot correct them once they have been violated.  That is not the violations to which I was referring anyway.  They cannot unring the bell that they rang.

I am not defending the wrong doings that Mr. Fox may or may not have done.  I am saying that your school board acted in an inappropriate and unethical way.  They, too, should be looked at by the OBE for ethics violations.  It seems to me the pot calls the kettle black over there in Huron. They failed to follow the most basic of things under transparency and acted like a pack of wolves.

I am on the outside looking in.  I have no vested interest in Huron. I am just an observer. But your school board didn't follow sunshine laws by even the most remote of possiblities and they cannot go back now and fix what they did not do.  It is too late.  The cat is out of the bag.

All they did was to fix and error in giving the man his pay.  That has nothing to do with the sunshine law at all. 

lifetimeresident

Almost every place I go I see employees on their phones sending texts or E-mails.  I dont care what the guy did with that lady.  I'll wait for the law to see if he did anything illegal before I judge.  They'll be sorry if they get Kalahari mad.  It would be like sandusky getting cedar point mad.

nonHURONelite

 WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOME OF YOU PEOPLE!! Mr Fox is a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE! that means he has to follow the laws the we the tax payers give him. 1 being NEVER USE YOUR WORK EMAIL FOR PERSONAL USE! (AND WHY WOULD YOU ITS PUBLIC RECORD!) . 2. DONT CONDUCT PERSONAL MATTERS ON SCHOOL TIME! (LIKE HAVING AN AFFAIR) 3. DO NOT ACCEPT GIFTS FROM PEOPLE YOU HAVE A BUISNESS RELATIONSHIP WITH! (GUESS WHAT PEOPLE THE WISCONSIN DELLS ISNT THE MECCA OF GOLF AND THE ONLY RESORT ON THE PLANET TO DO "TEAM BUILDING") 

Weather he is a nice guy or not he broke the law and should lose his job. also just because some of you think he did an amazing job as the head of Huron schools doesn't negate the fact that HE BROKE THE LAW!

shsalum

I can not believe that some of you:

A) Believe someone in Fred Fox's position are on "your time" of 7am - 4pm.  Administration positions like this are working nights and weekends answering questions and solving problems from teachers, parents, students, and the general public.  To say he is on your clock during this period is pretty short sided. He is always on the clock!

B) Want to fire every public employee who uses their work email for personal reasons.  Really?  Get a clue as you will have a hard time finding a single employee who never uses their email at least once for personal business.

I deal with employment issues like this on a daily basis and agree with GARDENMAN that this is not near the "done deal" that many of you believe it is.  The board was smart to reinstate his pay as that would have given his attornies even more ammo in the suit that Fred Fox will eventually have against the school.  Sorry to say Huron tax payers (which I am one), but we may be paying him for a long time when this is finally settled.

candlemaker

Those taking all the time and energy to post comments that either minimize the actions of Mr. Fox or make comparisions to the law as first degree, second degree, etc. need to also take some time to read and become more familiar with the professional requirements for educators within the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Revised Code.  Mr. Fox is well aware of these rules. Simply put, the rules are you "do" or "you don't".  The only "degrees" one might find would be in the punishment phase of a violation.  If Mr. Fox loses his educator's license, he can no longer be employed in any school district in Ohio.  If the school board had failed to report potential violations they could be found guilty and face their own consequences.

This controversy is unwanted.  The financial burden is unwanted.  But both will continue as long Mr. Fox allows it to happen.

underthebridge

Wired - you are not correctly applying the Sunshine laws in this case.

wiredmama222

@ underthebridge.   I suggest the you go look at the following link.  It is from the Ohio Board of Education explaining the Sunshine Law for boards of education and how they are to perform in their dealings with the public and with their conduct and with the Ohio Sunshine laws.  http://www.ohioschoolboards.org/files/fs/OSBASunshineLaw.pdf

Informed

wired, you need to specify which part of the Shunshine Law was violated, because I just don't see to what you are referring. 

wiredmama222

@ informed......as I said to someone else, please go to this link and read it.  http://www.ohioschoolboards.org/files/fs/OSBASunshineLaw.pdf   It explains what school boards must do in their EXECUTIVE meetings to file charges against someone and what constitutes a meeting among members of the board members.  It also explains what how an excutive session is supposed to be conducted and what you do in private and then in open session. 

Then it says what a board is supposed to do in open session about conducting busisness.  You need to read it all.  I cannot take it out of context for you.  Read it all to understand it.

The sunshine law IS important in spite of what some people think.  Defying it or acting outside the framework indicates deception and lack of honor.  Why do people need to do that unless they are dishonroable people with lack of character.  Oh, just pay the $500 and sweep it under the rug is not the right answer.  If you are doing that, you are no better than Fox himself. 

Informed

I already have read it as well as the board minutes...and I still do not see where Sunshine Laws were violated.  So give me a specific example of what the board did that violated it. 

streak

 I personally think in the long run, this will have a huge financial impact on Huron city schools. The board acted to quickly and the procedures on how they handled the situation was terrible. I think this will come back to bite them in butt. For some reason, I have this feeling that fox will come out a little richer. I just think they did not follow protocol somewhere and a good lawyer will find that and unfortunately that will be all one needs.

streak

 I personally think in the long run, this will have a huge financial impact on Huron city schools. The board acted to quickly and the procedures on how they handled the situation was terrible. I think this will come back to bite them in butt. For some reason, I have this feeling that fox will come out a little richer. I just think they did not follow protocol somewhere and a good lawyer will find that and unfortunately that will be all one needs.

donutshopguy

 Was the picture above from last night's meeting?  Look at the body language. I can you pick out the three that voted for the termination and the two that didn't ? Hint, they are grouped together.

HeatinHuron

 When the report comes back from ODE Ethics board and should it support the boards actions to fire Fred that will be a hugh blow for him. It will justify the board for removing Fred. As for his lawsuit that he may file. Doesn't suprise me. He has been bleeding the system for years , why stop now! 

Darkhorse

I take it the Huron School doesn't have a handbook for their employees, so therefore, it is difficult to lay down rules where none were specified in regards to e-mails, absence, etc.  There are rules and ethics code of conduct for someone in Fox's position that must be followed. No matter what mistakes have been made,  there are enough violations to discharge the employee for anyone of them.  The Board is obligated to report and deal with the situation no matter what the cost.  The insurance dictates a liability that has to be dealt with no matter what kind of money has to be spent to get it straightened out.

Common_Cents

I think folks should approach this as if they were an unbiased mediator examining the evidence before they make snap judgements.  There is a lot of hearsay evidence against Mr. Fox, unfortunately for Huron, it takes more than hearsay to prove breach of contract.  About the only thing that isnt hearsay are the emails.

I think most you are confusing "personal business" and personal communication.  As the rules are written, public employees are prohibited from conducting "personal business" using work email not personal communication.  Thus, the offender must be using work resources TO MAKE MONEY OR CONDUCT A BUSINESS WITH THE GOAL OF MAKING MONEY.  The term "personal business" does not apply to personal communication, no matter how raunchy it is.  So, the only hard evidence in that report does make Mr. Fox seem a pig, it does not in and of itself constitute a violation. 

As a salaried head of a school, it is doubtful that Mr. Fox is expected to only work from 8-5 or whenever, I am sure he was expected to be "on call" so to speak all the time.  People in these positions commonly execute personal communications and meetings during normal work hours and most systems are very lenient with that becuase they are often dealing with school issues over nights/weekends, well beyond the expected 40 hour work week. 

I agree his actions are despicable, but I worry the BOE jumped on this too fast without thinking first.  Seems to be some validity to the reimbursement stuff, but again, that case is shaky for termination (a few hundred dollars?, we don't have all the details on the trip, it could have been an honest mistake, there is no track record of doctoring reimbsurements, etc, etc) ... public sentiment on your side does not insure success in a lawsuit or in proving breach of contract.  

 

crazyrick

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal information, personal attacks, and libelous or defamatory statements. Discussion Guidelines

mikel

most of you are to funny on here.  you say that because he e-mailed on work time he stole.  take a breath and think about yourselves!  ever make a phone call on work time?  go to the bathroom when it was not break time?  take an extra 3 minutes at lunch time?  take home a pen or pencil?  use an envelope from your employer?  sneak a peek at your cell  phone to check for a text/call?  we all either do it or have done it.  i don't condone what he has done but to be fired????

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