Stark State administrator settles complaint with college

By Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal staff writer

A Stark State vice president formerly placed on administrative leave during an investigation of her department last summer has resolved her complaint with the college.

Celeste Jones, 40, will receive her $150,193 yearly salary and benefits as head of human resources for the college through June 30, according to the agreement she and Stark State President Para Jones signed. (The women are not related.)

Details have not been released about exactly what prompted Stark State, a tax-supported college in Jackson Township, to put Jones on leave.

“After extensive investigation and discussion, it has been resolved that Stark State College” and Jones will complete their contract, Stark State spokeswoman Irene Lewis Motts said.

What is known is that Jones, who is black, went on leave July 9 during the course of the investigation. During that time, she filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 10, claiming discrimination and retaliation. She requested reinstatement.

Her complaint was referred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because of a conflict of interest. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office represents both Stark State and the Civil Rights Commission, office spokesman Dan Tierney said.

Jones and Stark State formally settled the dispute Jan. 13. The EEOC dismissed Jones’ complaint the next month because of terms in the settlement.

The agreement, released this week after a request to the attorney general’s office, gives Jones her full salary and benefits through June 30, almost one year after she was put on leave.

She also is entitled to outplacement services from a company retained by the college through the time she’s on administrative leave and for three months afterward. The value of the outplacement services was listed as $10,000 in the agreement.

Jones joined Stark State almost three years ago after stints at Excel Polymers in Solon, Ford Motor Co. and Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business management/human development from Howard University and a master’s degree in human resources from the University of Akron. She was named one of 2011’s top “20 Under 40” professionals by the Canton Regional Chamber and the Repository newspaper.

While she was on administrative leave, her job was performed by her supervisor, Chief Operating Officer Tom Chiappini, who makes $180,080, and other human resource staffers, Motts said.

Jones on Thursday said she preferred not to comment.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3729.


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