Butler County suspends department’s fraud manager to ‘send a message’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Butler County finance director talks about debt-free plan for the next county budget.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Butler County commissioners suspended a manager in the Job and Family Services department for three days without pay after he appeared intoxicated at work.

Human Resources Director Laurie Murphy said while Derek Johnson, who heads the fraud division, wasn’t actually drunk, the discipline was warranted.

“He was observed acting as if he was under the influence of some medication or alcohol, so we sent him for a reasonable suspicion testing. It came back as negative because he was on prescribed medication,” Murphy said. “But because of some of his behaviors and being a supervisor, we felt it was necessary to evaluate and send a message to him that even prescription medications at work have to be used appropriately and not so they impact his duties as manager.”

RELATED: Butler County settles with fired Children Services supervisor for $135K

Murphy said Johnson appeared to be drowsy and walking unsteadily on a couple occasions.

Bill Morrison, JFS executive director, said Johnson is a good employee he wants to keep but officials needed to make sure this behavior isn’t repeated. Johnson appeared impaired one other time and Morrison gave him a warning, with the understanding if it happened again there would be formal discipline.

“I’m hopeful that having this discipline will result in him taking extra care to make sure he never comes into work not prepared to work again,” Morrison said adding, “certainly it hasn’t been a problem since this last time arose.”

The commissioners tasked County Administrator Judi Boyko with taking any other appropriate action she deems necessary. She said Johnson “will be subject to monitoring for any behavioral and performance infractions for a reasonable period of time.”

The commissioners have addressed several other discipline issues this year, including a two-day unpaid suspension for wellness coordinator Shawna Smith after she inadvertently sent out an email with wellness information regarding the county’s health insurance, which might have violated HIPAA laws.

They also paid a fired Children Services supervisor $135,000 in a settlement agreement after a state board said the agency’s discipline was too harsh even though it involved alleged neglect of her own foster child.

Sandra Roseman was fired Sept. 18, 2017 from her position as screening coordinator but she appealed her dismissal to the State Personnel Board, and an administrative law judge ordered her reinstatement last July.

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