Open Letter to the News-Herald…Dr. Oluic vs. Lakeland Community College

LFC Comments: The complaint filed by Dr. Steve Oluic and the Settlement Agreement documents shown below were received from Lakeland Community College as a result of a public records request (O.R.C. 149.43 (B) (1)) submitted by Lobbyists for Citizens. We appreciate the transparency displayed by Mr. Michael Fisher, legal counsel for LCC, in submitting the documents to us in a timely manner.

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Ms. Tricia Ambrose
Executive Director
The News-Herald
7085 Mentor Avenue
Willoughby, Oh 44094

Subject: Letter to the Editor

Dear Ms. Ambrose:

We have become aware of very disturbing news regarding Lakeland Community College.  On July 6, 2021, Lakeland Community College settled an alleged wrongful termination lawsuit with a former employee named Dr. Steve Oluic.  Lakeland agreed to pay Dr. Oluic $220,000 and his attorney, Mr. Shawn A. Romer $130,000, for a total payment of $350,000.

The Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims agreement, signed on July 5, 2021, by the Lakeland representative, contains a “Non-Admission” paragraph stating that “the terms set out in the Agreement are a compromise settlement of disputed claims, the validity, existence or occurrence of which is expressly denied by Lakeland.”

Dr. Oluic is a 27-year U.S. Army veteran, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and received an honorable discharge in 2010.  Unfortunately, he suffers from PTSD as a result of his service to his country.  Lakeland hired Dr. Oluic on or around October 4, 2010, as Dean in the Department of Social Sciences and Public Service Technologies.

Dr. Oluic’s employment went well and largely without incident until the summer of 2015, when the President of the University, Dr. Morris Beverage, made the decision to move Dr. Oluic’s office.  Prior to that time, Dr. Oluic’s prior offices were located in two locations, one on the 3rd floor of the building and one on the 2nd floor.  Neither location triggered his PTSD.

The complaint alleges Lakeland moved his office to the 1st floor, which aggravated his PTSD because of the proximity to the parking lot and the great deal of foot traffic near the new office.

In May of 2017, Dr. Oluic received Lakeland’s distinguished service award.  Despite having been promoted several times and receiving this Fulbright scholar award, he was terminated on or around January 5, 2018, which was effectuated, per an agreement, on June 30, 2018.

On that date, Dr. Oluic met with Morris Beverage, Catherine Bush, Chief of Staff, and Provost Laura Barnard.  During the meeting, Dr. Oluic was presented with the option of either being terminated immediately or working from home in a different job position until June 30, 2018, at which time he would be forced to resign.  The Lakeland officials suggested that he choose the latter option in an effort to keep a termination letter out of his permanent personnel file.

We have attached copies of the lawsuit filed by Dr. Oluic and the Settlement Agreement signed in July 2021.

We will let the citizens of Lake County determine if the officials at Lakeland Community College have been good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

Respectfully,

s/Brian Massie

Brian Massie
Executive Director
Lobbyists for Citizens
A 501 (C ) (4) non-profit

Here is the original complaint filed by Dr. Steve Oluic:

Here is the Settlement Agreement signed by both parties: [Non-admission statement is on page 4]

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Categories: Lake, Lakeland Community College, Ohio Counties

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