steps down amid accusations
signed a separation of employment agreement in August with the board
that governs the agency, after the Ottawa County Board of Development Disabilities
put him on paid leave June 11 and investigated allegations against him.
Since Bish became the superintendent in January, employees said he created a hostile work environment where they feared for their jobs and their safety, causing some of them to develop stress-related health problems, according to county records the News Herald obtained from the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office.
"I stepped down mainly because of the tension," Bish
said Friday during a telephone interview.
"It was affecting my health."
In an e-mail he
sent to the News Herald on Friday afternoon, he
said the board
has a good program that will continue to serve the community.
"There is so much I had hoped I could have done for the community," he
"In the event that any legal action filed by any individual or entity arises from actions or allegations alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2009, and June 15, 2009, Bish
agrees to make himself available for interview, deposition or testimony at any hearing or other legal proceeding and cooperate fully with the Ottawa County Developmental Disabilities
Board or the board's representative," the agreement specifies.
DETAILS OF THE ALLEGATIONS
The board hired Bish, who was superintendent of the Morgan County Board of DD in southeast Ohio, to replace retired Superintendent Jim Frederick in January.
A few weeks later, employees said Bish
began harassing them and making comments that caused them to fear their jobs would be eliminated.
then asked her
in front of two other workers, "Do you give sponge baths?
the employee wrote in county records June 9.
"Later that afternoon, when I took some paperwork to Mr. Bish's
stopped me and asked me 'Are we OK about this morning?'" the employee wrote.
"I once again felt uncomfortable and felt put on the spot and pressured and stated 'yeah' and left his
The next day, she
found a gift on her
desk, which Bish
was from "Paintman," she
wrote in county records.
Another employee, who was recovering from an injury and on Workers' Compensation, said Bish
routinely harassed him regarding how his
injury was affecting his
work, records show.
While this employee was off work for medical appointments, Bish
sent him an e-mail at 4:14 p.m. Feb. 4 telling him to attend a meeting at 8 a.m. Feb. 6, records show.
The employee did not see the e-mail and missed the meeting, according to county records.
When the employee e-mailed Bish
back to let him know he
had not received the message in time, Bish accused the employee of refusing to meet with him, records show.
"Of course, this is a violation of county policy and will be addressed," Bish
wrote to the employee.
Courtney then convinced Bish
disciplining the employee was unreasonable, Courtney wrote in county records.
During a later meeting with the employee, Bish
was "aggressive and degrading," Courtney wrote.
During a late February meeting, Bish
staff with having an "adjustment disorder" because they were grieving for Frederick's retirement, a board
of DD nurse wrote June 9 in county records.
The next month, she
and told him 20 employees had come to her
office with stress-related symptoms "due to the hostile work environment as a result of his
During the board's
March 9 meeting, she
expressed these concerns, she
The next day, she
was called to Bish's
office, where he
sat with his
back to her
typed on his
"After a short while, he
spun around, slammed a piece of paper down on his
desk and came across the desk towards me in a physical and intimidating way," she
wrote in county records.
"In effect, (Peterson) cut off any access to any help the staff needed to report or deal with the actions of Mr. Bish
," the nurse wrote.
wanted sweeping change, employees say
letter of interest for the Ottawa County Board
of DD job, Bish
billed himself as a leader who could make positive changes and streamline operations.
He touted his background as a professor at Southern Ohio College and his work for the Wesleyan Church in Galloway.
When the board
, employees said they knew some things at the agency would change, Courtney wrote in county records.
They questioned, however, why Bish
did not get to know any of them or learn about how the agency and its programs operate before deciding to reduce services and target certain individuals for job elimination.
created an environment where employees were pitted against each other and believed he
felt they were incompetent and, in some cases, dishonest, the employees wrote in county records.
accused one employee and Frederick of Medicaid fraud and told other employees the agency would have to pay $240,000, county records show.
"I told (Dublin Management Group) that (Bish) is his own worst enemy and creates chaos by the way he handles his employees and that I was thinking I had a good enough working relationship with him that I could discuss with him maybe bringing out the kinder, gentler Tim
," Courtney wrote.
The Rev. Lisa Peterson, board president for Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities shakes hands with Tim Bish during an earlier meeting. Bish has resigned from his position as director of the agency.
The Rev. Lisa Peterson, board president for Ottawa County Board
of Developmental Disabilities shakes hands with Tim Bish
during an earlier meeting.
Bish has resigned from his position as director of the agency. (Submitted file photo)