Ex-officer’s hearing set for May 14

Published 10:09 am Thursday, March 12, 2009

IRONTON — A fired Ironton police officer who wants her job back and city officials who contend she shouldn’t get it will meet for an arbitration hearing on the matter May 14.

Warren Morford, the attorney for Beth Rist, said arbitrator Harry Graham has yet to select a site for the hearing or set an exact time.

“I have suggested it be at the city center,” Morford said. He said he will argue that proper procedure was not followed when Rist was fired — such action, he said, should have conformed to the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police. He will also argue the punishment for what Rist had done was excessive and was more harsh than what other officers have received for their infractions.

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Morford said he can and will call witnesses but declined to say who, how many or what subjects he will ask them about during the hearing.

Mayor Rich Blankenship, who fired Rist, said he had no comment on the matter at this time.

“We’ll go through the process,” he said.

Rist, who was fired in October, was terminated for filing a bogus traffic ticket. She pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of falsification in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court and received probation for the crime.