A Mahoning County employee who was fired within his probationary period has been reinstated to his position Tuesday.

Ricky Morrison began working for the county maintenance department on September 12 and was terminated in early December after he was allegedly seen sitting with Republican challenger Geno DiFabio during a November 28 elections board meeting. After Tuesday's final recount for the commissioner's position, incumbent Democratic candidate Carol Rimedio-Righetti won the race for Commissioners by 130 votes.

On December 9, attorney Subodh Chandra issued a letter on Morrison's behalf demanding his client be reinstated by December 16 or face an unconstitutional termination lawsuit. 

Gina DeGenova, acting Mahoning County Prosecutor, reviewed Morrison's termination and reversed the termination decision on Tuesday. DeGenova stated that the firing was initiated by the county administrator, not the Board of Commissioners, which includes Rimedio-Righetti, but the firing was not politically motivated.

DeGenova said because no board action was taken, his termination is void.

The letter from the Mahoning County Prosecutor's office by Gina DeGenova reads:

Mr. Chandra:

Upon receipt of your correspondence, as Prosecutor, I conducted an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the December 2, 2022 “termination” of your client, Ricky Morrison.  My investigation revealed that the decision to terminate Mr. Morrison was made by the county administrator, not the Board of Commissioners, and that the county administrator’s action was not politically motivated. 
A Board of County Commissioners may only act as a Board and through formal resolution. Because Mr. Morrison’s “termination” was initiated by the county administrator and no Board action was taken, Mr. Morrison’s “termination” is void ab initio.  The Commissioners will not ratify the action taken by the county administrator. Accordingly, please notify Mr. Morrison that he should report to work tomorrow, December 13, 2022.  He will suffer no loss in pay or interruption of health care benefits.
According to the letter sent to the Commissioners, Morrison attended the November 28 meeting as a private citizen, was seated next to DiFabio, but was not scheduled to work. 
In his letter to the Commissioners, Attorney Chandra stated that at the meeting, Rimedio-Righetti allegedly said to Morrison "... You work for us. Unreal."
On December 2, his supervisor called Morrison in and informed him of his termination on December 2.
The attorney's letter said that Morrison is a cancer patient and his termination was a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.
“The county backed down because they were dead wrong and caught red-handed in a First Amendment–retaliatory firing. Commissioners and the prosecutor are throwing the administrator under the bus when there was no reason for the administrator or Mr. Morrison’s supervisor to fire Mr. Morrison other than to wrongly implement retaliatory direction,” Chandra told 21 News.

“While it’s a relief that, after our demand for his reinstatement, Mr. Morrison—after enduring terror for 11 days—will apparently have his health insurance and cancer treatment restored, the emotional harm will be hard to recover from. And the chilling effect on freedom of speech continues. Mr. Morrison didn’t attend the county elections board meeting today because of that effect,” Chandra added.