CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - Days before she takes office as Hamilton County’s new sheriff, Charmaine McGuffey has settled a lawsuit she filed against the sheriff’s office two years ago, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
It was a bitter legal battle that alleged discrimination, excessive use of force and bullying and led to a political campaign that ousted the current sheriff, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Hamilton County will pay McGuffey $212,500 in lost wages and benefits after she was fired in 2017 when she refused to accept a civilian position, according to an agreement the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners will vote on at a Wednesday special meeting.
McGuffey had worked for the sheriff’s department since 1983 and worked her way up to major in charge of the county jail by the time she was fired.
McGuffey, 62, filed suit in 2018 and claimed the firing was a result of her being a whistleblower who exposed excessive use of force by the sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers. She also has contended some within the department didn’t like the fact she was an openly gay woman, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
McGuffey then filed to run against the man who fired her, Sheriff Jim Neil, and beat him in a decisive Democratic primary in March with 70% of the vote. She later defeated the Republican candidate, Bruce Hoffbauer, in the general election.
According to the settlement agreement, outgoing Sheriff Jim Neil and the county, do not admit to the allegations made by McGuffey.
McGuffey wasn’t immediately available for comment, but a spokesperson did send a statement to FOX19 NOW:
“Sheriff-elect McGuffey is gratified that a settlement has been reached. Now it’s time to look to the future. On January 4th, Sheriff-elect McGuffey will be sworn in as the Sheriff of Hamilton County. As she has said in all her public statements, she is committed to leading the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office with integrity, accountability, and transparency to ensure the safety, dignity, and respect of all citizens.”
Neil said he didn’t have anything to do with the settlement and had no comment on the lawsuit, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I did what I had to do as sheriff,” Neil said. “I had no part on that team, that negotiated that settlement.”
A spokeswoman with the county didn’t have any comment beyond the agreement.
McGuffey is set to be sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 4.