JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- An emergency hearing in Clark County after the executive director of Community Corrections says he was fired, illegally. The council met Wednesday to presumably formally relieve Steve Mason of his duties.
Dozens of Corrections Department employees waited in the hallway at the courthouse for the hearing to start. They were there to support Steve Mason, their former executive director. Their support brought Mason to tears. “It just means a lot. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this program, done everything I could to keep it going through financial difficulties and other things. So, it just means a lot to me that they were here,” he explained.
Mason says he was fired after he says a local judge forced him to falsify an employee’s timecard. But, the supervisor who fired Mason, Henry Ford, doesn’t have that kind of authority. Terminations fall to the Corrections Department Advisory Council. So, they called the emergency meeting.
After a quick prayer with a friend in the hall, Mason headed into the meeting to hear the fate of his employment. Inside, Ford claimed Mason was fired for insubordination, a culmination of several issues over the course of his employment. Mason’s co-workers scoffed at that in the crowd. Judge Dan Moore spoke up, saying they should all slow down and put Mason on paid leave while they investigate the situation. “I think we’ll just interview people in the jury room down there and we’ll present this board back with some options. I’m thinking three weeks at the outside,” Moore said.
While he’s glad to have his job back, for now, Mason says he’s still baffled by his illegal firing. “How do you misspeak when you fire somebody? I mean, I just don’t understand that. It’s just absurd to me,” he said.
The committee will have until August 5 to investigate and make a final recommendation to the board.
WHAS11’s Chelsea Rabideau is following this story and has more, just click the video player above.