Fired Over Facebook Posts, Lucas County Deputy Thomas Hillabrand Gets Reinstated With Back Pay

Lucas County, OH – Lucas County Deputy Thomas Hillabrand, who was fired in August 2016, has been reinstated to his job and back pay of almost $32,700 has been ordered.

BY COWGIRL

According to The Toledo Blade, an arbitrator ordered Deputy Thomas Hillabrand to return to his position at the county jail in January 2017. The 19-year veteran was fired for social media posts about local Taco Bell employees and Black Lives Matter demonstrators in 2016.

Pat Mangold, president of UAW Local 3056, which represented Deputy Thomas Hillabrand, said that the union did not approve of his social media posts but maintained that he should have kept his job. Mangold said that Deputy Hillabrand “understands the responsibility of his position” and had personally told him that he had “made a mistake”.

Lucas County Deputy Thomas Hillabrand’s payment of $32,662 is his total missed wages plus expected overtime. Due to his seniority, his estimated overtime was 52 hours for each two-week pay period. The Sheriff’s Office contributed about $5,900 for Deputy Hillabrand to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, and about $20,000 in overtime to other Deputies to cover his shifts.

Deputy Thomas Hillabrand’s disciplinary action was the result of an incident that began on July 2016. He went in uniform to the drive-through at a local Taco bell. While he was there, employees shouted a vulgar message at him about police and also ‘Black Lives Matter.’ When a commenter said that she was surprised that the deputy didn’t reach through the window, he responded, “Couldn’t reach ’em, in the pre-camera days you know what would a happened!”.

Deputy Hillabrand later posted a comment in reply to a news article about the acquittal of Lt. Brian Rice, saying that Marilyn Mosby must resign immediately and “she sucks.” In another post he said “fire that bitch (Mosby.)”

Union officials had pushed for a suspension of 105 days, community service, and cultural sensitivity classes. Instead, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp fired Deputy Thomas Hillabrand. He said on Monday, that he ‘believes firing was the right action to take’ and that he disagreed with the arbitrator’s decision.

The arbitrator’s final decision in the matter was a 20-day suspension, credit for the time that the Deputy was suspended, and re-payment of lost wages. The union said that if the original offer for the 105 days suspension listed above had been accepted, that it would be about the same time that Deputy Hillabrand had been out and the county wouldn’t be paying mandatory back pay.

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