from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No.
J. Leo Law Office, and James J. Leo, for appellant.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Tracy M. Nave, for
1} Appellant, Kenneth Rupert, appeals a judgment of
the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that affirmed the
order of the State Personnel Board of Review
("Board") modifying the discipline imposed by
appellee, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction ("ODRC"). For the following reasons, we
affirm that judgment.
2} From April 2006 to September 2014, Rupert worked
as a unit manager at the Toledo Correctional Institution
("TCI"). On September 2, 2014, ODRC removed Rupert
from his position. ODRC cited multiple reasons for
Rupert's removal, including: (1) he failed to follow a
direct order to complete monthly tracking forms, (2) he
failed to follow a direct order to ensure that the security
threat group committee approved all prisoner bed moves, (3)
he failed to complete inventories of TCI's barbershop
equipment and supplies, (4) he failed to perform his duties
as TCI's coordinator for the Ohio Risk Assessment System
("ORAS"), (5) he failed to keep his unit's
portion of the contraband vault tidy and organized, (6) he
failed to upload minutes from weekly unit meetings and
quarterly town hall meetings to TCI's intranet.
3} Rupert appealed his removal to the Board. Both
Rupert and ODRC presented evidence regarding Rupert's
employment and removal at a hearing before an administrative
law judge. Subsequent to the hearing, the administrative law
judge issued a report and recommendation setting forth her
findings of fact and conclusions of law. In short, the
administrative law judge found only two of the grounds cited
by ODRC justified discipline against Rupert: (1) his failure
to complete barbershop inventories, and (2) his failure to
perform his duties as ORAS coordinator. The administrative
law judge concluded that, while these failings did not
warrant removal, they demonstrated that Rupert's duties
overwhelmed him, rendering him an ineffective supervisor.
Thus, the administrative law judge recommended that the Board
modify Rupert's removal to a reduction in position and
reinstate Rupert to the highest non-supervisory position
under a unit manager.
4} In an order dated December 18, 2015, the Board
adopted the administrative law judge's findings, modified
Rupert's removal to a reduction in position, and
reinstated Rupert to the highest non-supervisory position
under a unit manager. The Board made the demotion and
reinstatement effective December 2, 2015.
5} Three days after issuing its order, the Board
stayed that order until its next scheduled Board meeting.
Rupert took advantage of the stay by asking the Board to
clarify its position on the issue of whether he should
receive back pay. In an order dated January 6, 2016, the
Board stated that "the intent of this Board is that
back pay for [Rupert] is to run from December 2,
2015 until the effective date of [Rupert's]
reinstatement with [ODRC]." (Emphasis sic; Jan.
6, 2016 Order.) The Board then stated, "[I]t is hereby
ORDERED that [Rupert's] removal be
modified to a reduction and that [Rupert] be reinstated to a
classification assigned to the highest non-supervisory
position under a Unit Manager, all to be effective December
2, 2015, pursuant to R.C. 124.03 and R.C. 124.34."
(Emphasis sic.) Id.
6} Rupert appealed the Board's order to the
trial court. The trial court affirmed the Board's order
in a judgment entered February 27, 2017.
7} Rupert now appeals the February 27, 2017
judgment, and he assigns the following errors:
[1.] The Lower Court Erred By Finding that Mr. Rupert Failed
to Perform ORAS Quality Reviews Because There Was No Due Date
Set For When the Reviews Must Be Completed And, Given One
Interpretation of an Applicable ORAS Policy, Rupert Was
Terminated Six Months Before the Reviews Were Due[.]
[2.] The Lower Court Erred In Using the Barbershop Inventory
Issue, the Only Charge Established by [O]DRC, As A Sufficient
Basis For Demoting Rupert, a Fourteen[-]Year [O]DRC Employee,
Since He Had More Critical Safety Issues to Deal with Than
[3.] The Lower Court Erred in Ruling that Mr. Rupert Was Not
Entitled to Back Pay For the Unlawful Termination Period;
Because, In Denying Such Back Pay, the Lower Court Fails to