WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – More than 100 people packed into the Trumbull County Commissioners hearing room in Warren Wednesday, many in support of County Engineer Randy Smith.
It was standing room only at the Commissioners’ meeting, all trying to clear up the most recent accusation against the County Engineer’s Office.
“It all boils down to a handful of people that are using our union as a strong arm against Randy Smith,” Ohio Civil Services Employee Association member Dave Peterson said.
Peterson described himself as an embarrassed OCSEA union member.
He works for the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office and attended the commissioners meeting to support his boss, Randy Smith.
“The majority of our members who are union-paying dues members, who do not approve of what’s been going on here, have not been heard,” Peterson said. “Nothing’s getting fixed, and enough’s enough.”
This comes after two union staff representatives went to a Commissioners’ meeting a few weeks ago, asking for a probe of the office for improper spending.
Engineer’s Office Attorney Matt Blair said they were told before that meeting that their claims were unfounded.
But it was only the latest allegation against the office in a slew of lawsuits and claims dating back to 2013, all of which Blair told the crowd were unfounded and dismissed, costing the taxpayers in total more than $250,000.
Smith said he thought it was time to speak up.
“I won’t be threatened, bullied, or extorted,” Smith said.
“We are definitely going to address this issue, and we’re not going to put up with it anymore, we can’t continue to allow our office to be undermined in this capacity,” Blair said.
“Sure, we’d like more money, sure we’d like to have an extra day off, who wouldn’t?” Peterson said. “We’d be lying if we said we don’t, but enough is enough, so we have to make a scene.”
Blair also told the crowd he and Smith’s private counsel are looking at options when it comes recovering money spent defending the office and Smith in those lawsuits.