Clark County man's firing overturned after time card dispute - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clark Co. gov't. worker firing reversed; he's suspended instead

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Waiting for the Clark County's Community Corrections Advisory Board decision Waiting for the Clark County's Community Corrections Advisory Board decision

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The firing of the man who once headed up Clark County, Indiana's work release and community corrections programs was reversed Wednesday afternoon.

Stephen Mason says he was terminated after chief probation officer Henry Ford fired him for insubordination on Friday, after Mason complained via a series of emails for being ordered to add hours to a co-worker's time sheet.

Clark County's Community Corrections Advisory Board overturned that firing, but placed Mason on paid suspension as an investigation into the incident continues.

Mason's boss, chief probation officer Henry Ford, told the board, "I misspoke," when he told Mason on Friday that he was terminated. 

"I misspoke to Steve, and I should have told him that he is suspended pending termination rather than he was terminated. That's a mistake on my part," Ford said during the board meeting.

"How do you misspeak when you fire somebody?  I just don't understand that, that's just absurd to me," Mason responded to reporters.

Circuit Judge Daniel Moore will lead the investigation and several members of the community corrections advisory board will take part.

Mason said he was pleased and hoped to be able to tell his side of the story to a special committee of the board that will investigate.  Board member and Clark Circuit Judge Daniel Moore will lead the group, which will look into Mason's claim about possible falsified time sheets.

"Everybody just needs to cool down in this thing a little bit and get this down in methodical, chronologically order as to what happened," Moore said.

Moore said he hopes the committee can have a report prepared in two to three weeks, before the next scheduled corrections board meeting on August 5.

"I did not want to change his time sheet. But, when I was asked, and I was asked in writing, I did what I was told to do," Mason told WDRB's Chris Turner on Tuesday.  "The county employee handbook says you can't do it.  The court employee handbook says you can't do it.  The work release policy, the community corrections policy, says you can't do it."

At issue is at least 3.75 hours of pay, slightly more than a half-day's hours that Mason says the co-worker did not work last month.  It was not clear whether the county would pay the employee for the added time.

Mason was asked why he spoke up and did not let the issue die:
"Part of my fear was, that, number one, you can ask anyone who works in a correctional facility, that is how people get you in their pockets. You ask me to give you four hours now, then next week it's going to be a whole day, then next month you'll want me to pay somebody for a week.  Where's it end?"

The Community Corrections Advisory Board is a group of judges, other elected officials, and community members who oversee work release and probation.  It took up Mason's firing in a closed-door, executive session Wednesday afternoon at the county courthouse in Jeffersonville, with a public session scheduled afterward.

A final decision on any discipline of Mason would come from the Clark County Commissioners, according to state statute.


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