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Buckeye fires bus mechanic accused of forging timecard

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Larry Swaney

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YORK TWP. — For the second time in his career at Buckeye Schools, a bus mechanic has been fired, this time for allegedly submitting a fraudulent timecard in September.

Larry L. Swaney, 63, of Brunswick Hills Township, allegedly reported about 11 hours of overtime Sept. 2-16 that he did not work and received compensation, according to a Buckeye Board of Education resolution to fire him.

The board said Swaney’s “dishonesty and acts of malfeasance” justified his termination, which members unanimously approved Nov. 21. Swaney, who has been employed with the district since 2005, is paid $41,900 annually, not counting overtime.

Swaney also faces charges of forgery and theft in office, fifth-degree felonies, in Medina County Common Pleas Court. Judge Joyce V. Kimbler scheduled a jury trial for Jan. 16 after Swaney pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.

“The bearing of the court situation had no bearing on our situation,” Superintendent Kent Morgan said this week. “Based on facts of the case from the investigation that we had, the board unanimously voted to terminate Mr. Swaney’s contract.”

Morgan declined to comment further on the case.

The board resolution states the district reviewed written time sheets and bus garage video tape before moving to fire him.

During a pre-disciplinary hearing with Morgan, Swaney “refused to answer questions (and) provided no evidence or statements to refute the allegations” against him, according to the board resolution.

In 2009, Swaney was fired following accusations of misconduct and harassment, according to civil court documents.

In January 2009, Swaney was accused of creating a “hostile work environment by spray-painting an inappropriate boundary in the bus garage” that designated his area from another mechanic’s area. He also was accused of “yelling inappropriate, unprofessional and disparaging remarks” and “demonstrating disrespect” to another employee, court documents state.

In February 2009, Swaney received a three-day unpaid suspension for misconduct and swearing at other bus drivers. That same month, Swaney was accused of intimidating the former transportation supervisor and harassing other bus drivers, according to civil court documents. Swaney allegedly told a bus driver that she could “provide him with a statement, notarized by the superintendent’s secretary, that he had never harassed her,” documents show.

The Buckeye board unanimously fire Swaney in May 2009 for “actions and statements in creating a hostile work environment for his fellow employees” and “his attempt to cause (an employee) to prove a false statement that (Swaney) had created a hostile work environment by threatening.”

Swaney filed a civil suit against the district for termination “without just cause,” and he won his job back through arbitration.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.



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