Plain Township fires one employee, slates hearing for another
Plain Township could be down to one maintenance employee -- Supervisor Bobby Pharris -- by the end of the month.
On Oct. 17, township trustees held a disciplinary hearing for Chris Mathis of Westerville, who had worked for Plain Township for less than two years. They also scheduled a disciplinary hearing Oct. 30 for Bruce Gwinn of Westerville.
Mathis did not attend his Oct. 17 hearing, at which his employment was terminated for being “absent without authorized leave.”
The trustees said Mathis had not shown up for work since Sept. 26 and had not contacted the township for leave.
Mathis was put on three-month probation Sept. 6 after he was involved in an accident Aug. 6 while driving a township vehicle and tested positive for drugs in a required test administered after the accident.
Mathis’ personnel file showed he also was disciplined for being late and for borrowing township equipment and not returning it in a timely manner.
Township officials intend to terminate Gwinn because he was found guilty in Franklin County Municipal Court of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol Jan. 16. Being convicted of a criminal offense is a violation of Plain Township’s personnel policy.
Gwinn was not driving a township vehicle when caught, but Township Administrator Ben Collins said after the charge that Gwinn was no longer allowed to operate township vehicles.
Gwinn has worked with Plain Township since 1997 and has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence twice in that time period, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.
During his tenure with Plain Township, Gwinn also was disciplined for taking too much sick leave and running personal errands on work time.
Attempts to reach Mathis and Gwinn were unsuccessful.
The trustees authorized Pharris to hire one or more part-time maintenance employees through December. The employees could work up to 15 hours a week.
Collins said the township will evaluate the positions needed before adding personnel to the maintenance department.