Updated Tue, Apr 29, 2014 6:47 am
The attorney representing the Athens County Sheriff’s Office in a wrongful termination case was taken off the case, but could be back for more.
Matthew B. Baker, an attorney from Dublin who was representing the sheriff’s office in the case of former deputy Shannon Sheridan, filed a motion last week to withdraw as counsel for the sheriff’s office.
He was retained by now-suspended Sheriff Patrick Kelly for the case, in which Sheridan was asking the State Personnel Board of Review to order his reinstatement at the sheriff’s office.
Sheridan was fired by Kelly in 2012 after accusations of insubordination and sexual harassment were leveled against him.
He appealed his termination to the state board a week after his firing, according to previous Messenger reporting.
An administrative law judge recommended that Sheridan be brought back to the sheriff’s office, and the board of review ordered that Sheridan be reinstated.
However, they ordered that no back pay be given to Sheridan for the time he spent waiting for a court decision.
Both Sheridan and the sheriff’s office are appealing the decision, according to case records on the board’s website.
Both sides also filed civil cases in Athens County Common Pleas Court.
On April 17, Interim Sheriff Rodney Smith contacted Baker and told him “his representation was no longer needed and that (Baker) should do no more work” on the case, according Baker’s motion to withdraw as counsel filed in common pleas court.
Smith also told Baker that he would “seek other representation in this matter,” the motion stated.
Judge George McCarthy granted the motion on April 22.
But now, Baker is on track to return as an attorney in the case — a case in which negotiations between the parties are taking place.
Smith said they brought him back on when it was clear official negotiations were going to continue.
“He’s so familiar with the case, we just wanted to make sure we had someone who knew the case really well,” Smith told The Messenger on Monday.
Smith said he is hopeful that negotiations will lead to the best possible outcome in the case, and that Sheridan will be back to work at the sheriff’s office.
An official motion to bring Baker back onto the case has not been filed.