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

Retiree

Truth hurts a lot of people. I would suggest, don't read my blogs if I bore you. You have that right

Wald

Truth does hurt, doesn't it, Retiree? Truer words were never spoken. Now finish your bowl of sour grapes.

Tsu Dho Nimh

"Further, the additional alleged threat of disclosing Board member Slocum's prior work record, which work record totally supported Mr, Slocum, was made by some other individual and not by the Superintendent." How did the referee come to this conclusion? I went back and looked at Fox's suit against Sowecke and he most definitely brings up Mr. Slocum's work record. Even says that "When the circumstances become known, all will agree that Slocum is unfit to serve in any public office or in any trust capacity." Sounds like he intended to disclose something.

Justme...

TDN if that's not a threat of disclosing, I don't know what is. That report is a joke.

Wald

You want to talk about a joke, start with Markling's report!

Huron_1969

There's several jokes floating around..... Fox forevermore will be a punch line, and the vast array of alias names Sold is using, hhguy, waldo, truth in justice, boobeedoo, and my favorite, nobody from nowhere

nobodyfromnowhere

One more time for those of you in the cheap seats: I am not Sold. I do not know who he is and have never met the person. I do however agree with some of the things that he has posted.

BooBeeDoo'

Huron_1969:FYI I am not "Sold."I am not a friend of Mr. Fox or the Fremont principal.I am just looking at this as an objective legal standpoint. I think there is a double standard for men vs women. I'm sure none of you people are perfect.People make mistakes, let it go. I also feel that the Fremont principal has a case against the Fremont Board of Education and her superintendent who just happens to be a women. It is my understanding that the Fremont principal had outstanding evaluations. How could that be if she wasn't doing her job? Did someeone drop the ball? I truly believe that she has an excellent chance of winning a lawsuit. She has been dragged through the mud and that to me is disgusting!I don't know the women, but I don't feel she deserves comments like the one TMM made.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Here is another joke...Asher is a licensed attorney in Ohio. Two documented lies are enough for me to not respect the "ruling".

nobodyfromnowhere

And Asher's attorney status has what to do with the ruling from the Ohio Department of Education?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Nothing : )

partyboy

TMM-read the post

Sit n Spin

"Partyboy"...Why is it you only come out of the woodwork when the happily married raising a family adulteress is mentioned ? Maybe she shoulda been at home raising that family instead of lousing around ;) Her husband shoulda kicked her two timing shiat to the curb ! Man up !

partyboy

Why..because this is all about Fox. This public raking is disgusting. This is for(UgtaBkdnMe)... Oh I could be anyone you want...wife, husband, sister, brother, friend, aunt, uncle,cousin or the Easter Bunny...Ha Ha..don't assume who is coming out of the woodwork

UgtaBkdnMe

Happy Easter Bunny, bock bock !

Sit n Spin

Hey Sold ! How come all of your postings ended at 3:30 today ? Did you go to the game ? I saw you ! I shoulda wandered over to your section behind the bench & introduced myself. Looked as though you were with all your posse so I didn't want to impose ;)

UgtaBkdnMe

I wish we had "like" buttons !

Huron_1969

2nd that !

Still Sold

I wish I had a DELETE button..

Huron_1969

More than happy to get you one if you promise to delete your account.... Lol....

Still Sold

Sit/Spin-
You should have said hello.

All of the screen names you mentioned have one thing in common: In support of Fred Fox.

This is the only me. I had a hard enough time getting back on here as me after I posted the Journal's article. This is actually the 4th, or 5th time I have been deleted here.. lol

2700+ pages of testimony. And.. Much of the testimony is by the same people that Markling questioned. The referree even cites these people for having the 'courage' to testify. Did you notice that principal Von Throne was one of those that testified ? As scathed as she was painted to be by Markling and posters on here and then she comes to the defense of Fred Fox ?

The fact is that Fred Fox works for the Huron City Schools. Like it, or not.

If I were Fred Fox I would ask for my entire pay for my entire career plus benefits.

And I still want to know:

1) When is Markling going to pay the $90,000 back ?
2) When is Donna Hastings/Green going to pay for the sign ?
3) When is Retiree going to figure out that Toolgate is ova.. The bus is gone.. and Ticket Gate, etc.. has nothing to do with Fred Fox, but I'll bet he gets to the bottom of it when he's back to work.
4) When are the 3 Stooges stepping down ?

This inquiring mind wants to know !

Retiree

Once a thief all ways a thief.

Julie R.

You got that right!

Tsu Dho Nimh

Was it in his contract that he couldn't steal?

Retiree

Don't use my tax dollars to buy your toys

Wald

"Don't use my tax dollars to buy your toys"

Your comment is directed at the 3 BOE members, right, Retiree?

Huron_1969

looks like "Where's Waldo" is lost again.... all that spiining is probably making him dizzy

Still Sold

Wald's right, 1969.

The only wasting of tax dollars and time was done by your 3 favorite board members. Aren't you proud ?

Huron_1969

Actually, yes I am proud of them and they have my support. I hope they stay the course and remain committed to their convictions

Wald

You're proud of people who have wasted hundreds of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars in a vendetta that has been ruled by a neutral arbitrator to be both frivolous and vindictive? Hmm. Well, 1969 was a long time ago. No wonder your thinking is a little muddled!

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