Wayne Township Trustee Richard Stevenson is being accused of forcing his employees to work on his campaign for Mayor last year while they were on the clock.
Roosevelt Johnson,the director of building, grounds, equipment and safety at Stevenson’s office, filed a tort claim on January 12, 2016.
Johnson said in January 2015 he and his coworkers were asked by Stevenson to be present when he was at the City/County building signing the necessary paperwork to be a candidate and that he instructed them to cheer for him when he exited the building. Johnson said he and his coworkers did as instructed and that it all occurred during normal work hours.
Johnson said a month later he was also asked to print political signs for Stevenson’s campaign and post them while on the clock. Johnson was unable to place the signs after they were ordered due to medical issues he had developed.
Around October, Johnson said he learned that cheering for Stevenson and printing signs while on the job were against the law. When he told Stevenson he was done helping his campaign, he claims Stevenson began harassing him at work. He said the abuse was so severe that he became sick and had to take medical leave.
The lawyers representing Stevenson are saying the allegations are not true. They have time cards from the day and time that Stevenson signed up to be on the ballot that show that his workers were on lunch break at the time.
“None of them were on the clock,” said Holly Brady, Attorney at Haller & Colvin. “They were clocked out and the people that were gone used paid time off that was available to them. There’s no support for his allegations. They supported him voluntarily. There are employees that chose not to go and are still working there today. Nobody was forced or coerced to come out and support trustee Stevenson.”
Jack Morris, the chairman of the Allen County Democratic Party said this is not good for the political landscape.
“It’s bothersome for government in general because people have the tendency to feel that there are problems with elected officials whether it be a Democrat or a Republican,” he said. “I stand for integrity and any office holder who violates their office, I say ‘shame on them’ if they do that.
Morris, who is also an attorney, said there are some inconsistencies with Johnson’s tort claim. He pointed out that the tort says “Around October 29, 2015, while the Respondent’s campaigning continued…,” but that Stevenson’s campaign ended in May after he lost the mayoral race to Mayor Tom Henry.