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Dover law director fires back at mayor; wants him sanctioned

| March 3, 2022
Dover Mayor Rick Homrighausen, left, and Law Director Doug O'Meara at a recent City Council meeting.

DOVER (WJER) (March 3, 2022) – The city’s law director and three former city employees have fired back at the mayor as he tries to delay a settlement that would get the employees their jobs back.

Mayor Richard Homrighausen wants to pause the proceedings before the State Personnel Board of Review until the city provides him with legal representation.

Dover Law Director Doug O’Meara in a motion filed Wednesday says the mayor’s motion should be stricken, he should be sanctioned, and he and his unnamed attorney should pay the legal costs for everyone involved.

He accuses Homrighausen of “unlawful malice and purposeful misconduct” first in firing the employees in violation of whistleblower laws and then in filing motions with the board without identifying his attorney. 169427_01_motion to strike and for sanctions 3 2 2022

The three employees in a motion filed Tuesday say their terminations were “blatantly illegal” and the mayor is just trying to “run out the clock.” They want the judge to deny Homrighausen’s motions. 169364_03_SKM_80822030110140

“There is no just reason for further delay,” their attorney writes. “All three of the Appellants should be reinstated to their positions with an order of back pay, bridged benefits, and reinstatement of all their rights as though they had not been terminated.”

Homrighausen through yet another document filed Wednesday denies the accusations. He says he won’t comply with the judge’s order to submit his reasons for terminating the employees until the city provides an attorney to represent him. 169449_02_Mayor Homrighausen Reply in Support of Motion to Stay – 3-2-2022

“An unrepresented Mayor is trying to make his voice heard and defend his interests despite the Mayor’s legal counsel (Law Director O’Meara) breaching his legal duty to represent the Mayor (and instead actively working against him). That is it,” reads the mayor’s Wednesday filing.

Homrighausen filed a complaint in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court last week seeking a court order requiring the city to pay his legal costs in this matter. Document_Complaint o

Dover City Council and O’Meara have already agreed to the settlement with the employees. In one of O’Meara’s filings, he says Homrighausen fired them because they provided compelling evidence about the mayor to O’Meara, the Ohio Ethics Commission, and the Criminal Fraud Unit of the Auditor of State. 169418_01_memo in opposition 3 1 2022 SPBR

Before finalizing the settlement, council is waiting to see the impact of these and other legal issues. O’Meara’s filings also refer to “other basis that the city of Dover believes will manifest over the next couple of weeks.”

O’Meara has said he believes charges are coming soon against the mayor from one of the state agencies.

The mayor has said he will not talk about that or the case before the State Personnel Board of Review.

Documents were obtained through public records requests to the State Employment Relations Board and the Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court.

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