Supreme Court can help heal community

Published 11:29 am Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ohio’s Supreme Court has the opportunity — responsibility even — to settle a key fairness dispute that has divided the city of Ironton and cast the entire community in a negative light.

Further, the state’s highest court can establish important legal precedents about how a police officer can be punished for breaking the law he or she has sworn to uphold as well as clearly define the strength of collective bargaining agreements. An agreement was used in the Beth Rist case to start the process but ignored once the city didn’t like the outcome.

Police officer Rist disagreed with several court rulings that have essentially upheld her termination for falsifying a traffic ticket, a misdemeanor to which she pled guilty. The city didn’t like an arbitrator’s ruling that said Rist should get her job back.

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The Ohio Supreme Court can settle the matter — hopefully for good — as both sides should honor the ruling and move on if the court decides to hear the case.

So far this has cost the city more than $30,000 dollars, a significant expense made even more ironic by the fact that Rist also serves on city council.

And the attorney bills will likely keep piling up.

The city has the right to defend its actions that can certainly be argued as justified. Rist has the right to stand up against what she sees as discriminatory treatment and violations of a legally protected union agreement.

It falls on Ohio’s highest court to help everyone find closure and move forward, one way or another.