UPDATE: State referee says Fred Fox should be reinstated with full pay

Read the referee's report here from a state department of education hearing officer who delivered a 53-page report this morning that appears to exonerate fired Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox.
Alissa Widman
Mar 11, 2013

Click here to read the referee's report.

The Huron school board wrongfully fired superintendent Fred Fox, according to an Ohio Department of Education hearing officer.

Board members received a report Monday recommending they reinstate Fox with full back pay, a move that could cost the district $100,000 or more if approved.

School officials refused to release the report, contending it was not a public record, but Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, provided the Register a copy.

In the 53-page report, state hearing officer Harry Taich said the school board failed to provide "substantial, reliable and probative evidence" to terminate Fox last year.

"In my opinion, after hearing all of the testimony in this matter, it was quite apparent to this referee that personal feelings appeared to replace sound judgment," Taich stated in the report.

In June, the board voted 3-2 to fire Fox for his alleged misdeeds, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly seeking reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

The board contended the behavior was detrimental to Huron Schools, but Taich said this wasn't the case.

"The district failed to establish by credible evidence that Mr. Fox's inappropriate relationship with the other school district principal hampered his effectiveness as a superintendent," the report stated. "On the contrary, the overwhelming evidence did establish that the district has thrived under his leadership."

The board is expected to take action on Fox's termination at its monthly meeting next week. An executive session to review the state's recommendation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, with no action planned until the regular board meeting three days later.

Board members Kevin Asher and John Caporini, who voted against Fox's firing, said at last month's meeting they would vote in favor of the state's recommendation — no matter what it said.

After reading Taich's report, Asher said he hopes the entire board will do the same and "move on." He encouraged community members to attend Tuesday's meeting to voice their opinions on the matter.

"We have budget issues, negotiations with our classified staff union and more important things to be worrying about than this nonsense," Asher said. "This has taken a year away from us doing the job we were elected to do. We need to get back to the business of this school."

Board president Scott Slocum and board member Tim Sowecke did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Register reporter Jessica Cuffman contributed to this story.

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Want to go?

What: Huron school board meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19

Where: Shawnee Elementary School cafeteria

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Fox timeline

•February 2012 — Board meets with attorney Matt Markling to discuss allegations made against superintendent Fred Fox, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly sought reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

•May — Markling delivers 50-page report to board.

•June 19 — Board suspends Fred Fox and votes to start termination proceedings against him.

•June 20 — Markling report is released as a public record.

•June 28 — Board member Kevin Asher files lawsuit to keep board from paying Markling bill.

•Sept. 6 — Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, answers 23 allegations against Fox that the board says warrants his termination.

•Sept. 12 — Fox files a lawsuit against board member Tim Sowecke, alleging defamation and libel and demanding more than $2.5 million in damages.

•January 2013 — Fox's closed-door termination hearings end.

•Feb. 13 — Asher's lawsuit is dismissed.

•Feb. 18 — Board approves paying full amount of $90,000 Markling bill.

•March 11 — Ohio Department of Education's hearing officer recommends reinstating Fox with full back pay.

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Click here for the ePaper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you to learn what's next for Fred Fox and the Huron school board. Check back here at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they become available. 

Comments

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

nobodyfromnowhere

Congrats Sold you did call this one right.

Still Sold

Nobody From Nowhere-
Thank you. At least you were one to see the trees through the leaves !

Lil DAB

:-) Good call. I'm smiling inside.

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

The race is on..

I think the Journal is going to scoop the Register.

Still Sold

And they did..

Clark W

While the school board may not have to release the report yet, there's nothing stopping Mr. Fox or his lawyer from releasing it.
In this case, the SR should be free to post it.

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Lengthy excerpts from other websites.

Still Sold

Well..
I did post the Journal's article above, but 'Big Brother' removed my post and me.. It reads the same today.. lol

UgtaBkdnMe

Funny, I thought you were "Big Brother".

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Posted..

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

"I find that the district failed to meet its burden of proof in this matter with substantial, reliable and probative evidence, that was credible to support the ground of 'for good and just cause' to terminate the superintendent's contract of employment," Taich wrote. "On the contrary, I find that the credible evidence offered by the superintendent at the hearing overwhelmingly established by a preponderance of substantial, reliable and probative evidence that Superintendent Fox's contract of employment should not be terminated by the board, based upon the evidence at the hearing and the charges against him."

Ummm... This is me smiling.. Broadly.

SilentMajority

So now the question....how do you move forward with this whole mess...there is no simple answer. Simplying re-instating and having the 3 resign does not undo all of the damage. In my humble opinion, the best way is for Fox to get a large settlement (at the taxpayers expense), a clean slate and move on. All 5 board members should also be replaced immediately. I honestly don't think our school system stands a chance of passing any kind of levy or can move forward any other way.

sanduskyregiste...

why should all 5 board members resign when two of them were against this entire thing from the get go? i agree settle and parties seperate.

Still Sold

I'm with ya, SR !

UgtaBkdnMe

So how much of a settlement are YOU looking for ?

underthebridge

When the attorney for the school district did not want the document released, I pretty much knew the findings were in favor of Fred Fox.

HHGUY

Sold - not sure if you have had the chance yet. But I have read the ruling 2 times. I can tell you this – Murray and Fred will be rich. Not one single shred of evidence against Fred – in fact, Mr. Taich did say he thought that the whole thing was “personal”. He lauded Mr. Fox for his exemplary performance in the District. Based on this ruling, it is clear that SOWecke, Hastings-Green and Slocum must immediately step down. We also need to commend Caporini and Asher for standing tall. Hasting-Green could be in trouble for some potential criminal action about a sign – not sure what this is all about. Will be interesting to see how all this feeds into the SOWecke lawsuit. I’m guessing the suit will be revised to include others and a larger claim. There is 2700 pages of testimony submitted that is on the record and cannot ever be refuted. I guess we will find out how the the “old washed up attorney Murray will stand up against the “young upstart from Cleveland”. My reconnaissance says that in the Motion for Summary Judgment he, the Cleveland upstart, was way, way off target. Additionally – I have emails that clearly show the conspiracy between a coach in Huron and one Board member. More to come.

sanduskyregiste...

unless you are a board member, why would you have such an email in your posession?

Tsu Dho Nimh

HHGuy(aka Sold on Fox)has connections. Wonder who would give him what he wants? I bet it doesn't cost him a thing because it's all FREE, MAN! We know who his connection is and after reading the report, giving out information isn't the only thing his "connection" is dishonest about.

Still Sold

TDN-
Sold on Fox in any language is Still Sold, but not HHGuy.
While I assume HHGUY is a guy, I don't believe he has posted anything that is an assumption. Refute something he said.. Go ahead. Dare you !

UgtaBkdnMe

You DARE him ????

Huron_1969

and my disappointment grows
First, Fred Fox
Second, the school board
Third, the legal system

but I shouldn't be... if Bill Clinton can escape impeachment by twisting the meaning of the word "is", I guess anything can happen

Wonder what the OEC will say....

but I made a bet with Sold...... pass the crow please

Still Sold

Thanks for the crow buffet, Huron_1969.

You were honest about your feelings during the last year and I can't fault you for that.

You and some others have been a pleasure to 'joust' with here.

Wald

Sowecke, Green, and Slocum should be forced to resign from the BOE immediately. Hopefully Fred files a lawsuit that cleans them all out.

Still Sold

LIKE that, Wald !

HHGUY

Check the Lorain Jouranl web site. They have all the detail and have beat the Sandusky Register to the real story. Moderators will probably remove this -- but it is a fact. The word I have heard is that the 3-stooges are scheduling a press conference for tomorrow to resign.

Julie R.

So how did the Journal get the story before the Register? Same way the Journal got the decision by the retired Lorain County fix-it judge Cirigliano in the Nuesse case before even Nuesse did?

I personally can't stand the Journal. They only write what the good 'ole boys in Erie County tell them to write. I also would love to know how much of Erie County tax dollars have gone to Lorain and Cuyahoga County in the last 10 or more years. After all, isn't that where most of Erie County's favorite old retired rent-a-judges and hired law firms hail from?

There you go again

Fred is guilty any way you look at it. He admitted his guilt regarding his affair and improper use of school email. Enough said. You can go politics and personal but he is guilty and Huron does not need that kind of person running our school system.

Tsu Dho Nimh

No, we certainly do not!

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