County employee resigns following investigation

Probe showed employee used county computer to create, edit campaign literature

A former Greene County employee, Carolyn Destefani, has resigned from her position with Greene County Family and Children First after being placed on leave during personnel and criminal investigations.

Destefani, 49, is also a Sugarcreek Twp. Trustee, and had been working for the county for three years before she was placed on paid administrative leave on June 8. She resigned Aug. 2.

The county human resources director scheduled a disciplinary conference with Destefani on July 20 to address misconduct allegations which included misuse of county property; conducting non-county business on county time; and making or publishing false statements about the county, services or its employees.

“During this review of records it was discovered that you had utilized the county computer to prepare/edit documents associated with your political campaign for township trustee,” wrote Rachel Livengood, the Greene County Human Resources director, in a July 13 letter. “… Additionally, a review of your email has established that you provided access to your office to non-county employees when you were absent from the office leaving unsecured confidential client information unmonitored as well as other county property unsecured.”

Destefani’s attorney asked to postpone the the hearing in a July 15 letter.

The county launched the investigation after Destefani, a social services program specialist for the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Family Resource Center, gave a presentation related to the family resource center on June 7. The presentation contained erroneous information and misrepresented the county, said Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson.

“She didn’t use the same information that we use to compile the data and she presented it as fact in a meeting,” Huddleson said. “I had not reviewed it prior to the meeting, was surprised by it and it was later found to be completely inaccurate.”

Destefani, who was earning $17.35 per hour, was placed on paid administrative leave the next day, and her computer files were retrieved for review. These records showed Destefani used her county computer to work on documents associated with her campaign for Sugarcreek Township Trustee during working hours, according to county documents. These files included campaign literature, candidate questionnaires and biographical information.

Destefani’s computer files also included personal items such as photos, family updates and invitations.

“During the course of our investigation, we became aware of some information I referred to the prosecutor’s office to see if in their opinion, criminal charges were warranted,” Huddleson said.

The personnel and criminal investigation came to a halt when Destafani resigned.

“Her resignation negated all of that,” Huddleson said. “No criminal charges have been filed.”

Destefani resigned in an Aug. 2 letter.

“As you are aware, administrative changes within Greene County have moved the basic needs assistance functions of the Family Resource Center over to the community so the position I have held for the last three years is no longer available,” Destefani wrote. “Additionally, it is my desire to progress from this part-time position to an alternative full-time position elsewhere.”

The part-time position Destefani held was not eliminated and the agency planned to fill the vacancy, according to a subsequent letter the county sent Destefani.

“My client, Ms. Destefani recently submitted her voluntary resignation to Greene County,” wrote Destefani’s attorney, Enrique Rivera-Cerezo, in an email. “Prior to her resignation, she was informed that her position would undergo significant changes. During this period, my client and her superiors had a professional disagreement regarding methods and services to help Greene County underprivileged individuals’ access to food.”

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