Canton Fires 29 City Workers; State Audit Requested

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CANTON, Ohio—Nearly 30 employees for the City of Canton have been terminated amid an investigation into improper retirement and rehiring procedures, a city spokesperson said Friday.

According to Warren Price, Director of Public Service and Mayor’s Chief of Staff, the firings came after 29 full-time workers were found to have voluntarily retired and collected their pensions; but still remained on the city’s payroll.

Price said the discrepancy lies within state law, which requires government employees to terminate their position upon retirement. However, in this case, the proper departments were apparently never notified.

“None of these 29 individuals were rehired by the City of Canton,” said Price, “In fact, most of these 29 personnel legally separated today, as members of a union or as civil service employees, could not have been legally rehired without some action by the Civil Service Commission or first having retested and reapplied to the Civil Service Commission.”

Now, the city has asked the Ohio Auditor’s Office to conduct an independent audit to fully account for tax payer dollars, and to ensure the city’s policies and procedures are efficient.

Price made sure to clarify the nature of the terminations, saying the action was not “disciplinary in nature.”

“The City legally separated these employees from government service solely due to their legal status. Drawing any other conclusion than that at this point would be absolutely inappropriate and unfair to these 29 individuals,” Price said.

Price declined to comment on what jobs the workers held, or how many of their positions would be refilled.

The findings of the audit will determine the financial impact on the individual workers and the city government.

Meanwhile, the fired employees will not receive money owed to them for unused vacation of sick leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

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