A Mahoning County employee recently reinstated after being wrongly terminated has filed a federal lawsuit against some Mahoning County commissioners. 

Ricky Morrison began working for the county maintenance in September 2022 and was terminated in early December after being seen sitting with Republican challenger Gino DiFabio during a board of elections meeting in November. 

In December, incumbent Commissioner Carol Rimideo-Righetti won the final re-count for the Commissioners race by 137 votes. 

Morrison felt he lost his job due to retaliation from Commissioners Righetti and David Ditzler, and had his lawyer, Subodh Chandra, issue a letter to the county demanding his client be reinstated or face an unconstitutional termination lawsuit. 

The county's acting prosecutor, Gina DeGenova, responded through email by reinstating Morrison and claiming it was not the Commissioners who fired Morrison but County Administrator Audrey Tillis. 

Morrison alleges this is a cover-up by DeGenova, and Commissioners held secret illegal meetings to discuss the issue. As a result, Morrison has filed a federal lawsuit against Ditzler, Righetti, Tillis, and DeGenova for various claims, including First Amendment retaliation. 

"We have a right to free speech; we have a right to freedom of assembly; we have a right to petition our government; we have a right to associate with others like Mr. Morrison would have the right to associate with this challenger candidate. Mr. Morrison is not a policy maker; he's a line worker and an ordinary citizen," said civil rights lawyer Subodh Chandra. 

Commissioner Anthony Traficanti is also being sued for allegedly failing to report criminal acts, even though he says he was against the original termination. 

In response to the lawsuit, Commissioner Righetti said, "A lot of what we're seeing is not the truth, there's more to this, and it was not a political thing at all." 

"I cannot let the attacks on my character and integrity, as contained in this complaint, go unaddressed. I categorically deny each allegation of wrongdoing made against me...there has been no wrongdoing by this prosecutor as relates to these allegations," said acting prosecutor Gina DeGenova. 

If anyone has information on this issue and would like to come forward, you can email [email protected]