Records obtained by Plunderbund show that Democratic State Rep. John Barnes, Jr., who is facing a primary challenge on Tuesday, was repeatedly reprimanded and ultimately fired for inappropriate behavior when he worked for the City of Cleveland. Plunderbund has also confirmed that Barnes was removed from a director-level position with the city because he was believed to have sexually harassed one of his female employees.
According to documents obtained from the City of Cleveland, Barnes was sworn in as Director of Community Relations under Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell in February, 2002, after resigning the Ohio House seat he had held since 1999. On September 17th, 2002, Barnes received a hand-delivered letter (below) from Rodney Jenkins, Chief of the Office of Public Affairs, informing Barnes that he was being removed, “effective immediately”, from his position as Director of the Community Relations Board, and transferred to a new position in the Mayor’s office.
The letter goes on to insist that Barnes remove all personal items from his office and that he “have no contact with any of the current staff within the Department of Community Relations.” A source has confirmed that the transfer was made because Barnes was believed to have sexually harassed one of his employees.
This wasn’t the first job Barnes had with the City of Cleveland, and it wasn’t the first time he’d been in trouble. While working in the Tax Department in the 1980s, Barnes received multiple reprimands for his “consistent tardiness”, unexcused absences, taking personal calls at work, and generally being “AWOL”.
In November 1996, Barnes, now working as a Tax Auditor, was placed on disciplinary suspension for “Threatening, intimidating, coercing or interfering with supervisors or co-workers.”
In September, 1997, he was suspended for “fighting or attempting injury to other employees, supervisors or persons.” The suspension was without pay and “pending the outcome of the criminal case against [Barnes]”. Barnes officially resigned in February, 1998.
Barnes is facing former Pepper Pike Councilwoman Jill Miller Zimon in Tuesday’s Democratic primary which will likely determine who will represent the 12th District starting in 2015. There is no Republican candidate running for that district.