Liberty Township Trustee Michael Gemperline has now been included in a U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio lawsuit with fellow trustee Melanie Leneghan by the township’s former emergency medical services (EMS) Medical Director Warren Yamarick.
Dr. Yamarick is asking the court to assert jurisdiction over the matter and is seeking a judgment that “Leneghan and Gemperline have violated … (his) rights under the First Amendment” and that both trustees “have unlawfully retaliated against (him).”
The amended filing states, “Defendants’ decisions and actions were retaliatory and were motivated, at least in part, by the fact that plaintiff had exercised his constitutional right to speak about the plan to have Liberty Township cede to Delaware County the provision of emergency medical services within the township.”
In the trustees’ Dec. 3 meeting, Yamarick stood during the public comment portion and stated, “It was a joke for you to say that a two-man medic would be equal to or better than a three-man medic. We are a team of firefighters and EMS, a three-man medic is a hell of a lot better than a two-man medic.”
Leneghan also moved the same night to table a resolution that would have appointed Yamarick to continue as medical director in 2019.
The amended filing states, “Defendants Leneghan and Gemperline, acting under color of law, violated plaintiff’s clearly established First Amendment rights when they took steps to preclude plaintiff from being reappointed to the position of medical director of the LTFD (Liberty Township Fire Department) for the year 2019.”
“Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, every person acting under color of state law who deprives another person of his or her constitutional rights is liable at law and in equity,” the amended filing states.
In a previous report, Yamarick said he met all the requirements to speak during the public comment portion of the Jan. 7 trustees meeting but was skipped over by Leneghan. When he tried to invoke his right to speak, Leneghan asked to have him removed from the township hall, citing it was being done under an executive decision.
“I followed all the rules,” Yamarick said in a prior phone interview. “I filled out all the paperwork and handed it to Leneghan.”
Leneghan said Thursday that public comment had ended, and Yamarick was interrupting the meeting.
“This should have been over and done,” she said about the chaos over the township’s EMS and pending lawsuits she and Gemperline are named in. “It’s in the hands of the township lawyers, and the taxpayers are paying for it.”
Leneghan and Gemperline are also named in a Delaware Municipal Court filing by a group of residents asking for their bonds as trustees to be increased to $1 million each.
“This thing from the residents is spitting in the face of democracy,” Leneghan said. “It’s about a person who won and the minority didn’t like it, and they are trying to remove them from office.”
When contacted, Yamarick was on duty in the emergency room of OhioHealth Riverside and could not comment. Gemperline could not be reached nor did he return a request for comment.
After nearly 29 years of service as the township’s medical director, Yamarick, an award-winning physician, is being replaced after a 2-1 vote on Jan. 28 by trustees approved a 3-year contract with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for medical director services at an annual rate of $34,544.
According to Liberty Township records, the earliest record of Yamarick receiving compensation for his time as the township’s medical director was March 1999 at the rate of $600 per month.
Prior to approving the contract with OSU, the tabled resolution reappointing Yamarick as the 2019 medical director would have cost the township $6,000.
In addition, Trustee Shyra Eichhorn suggested, prior to the vote taking place on the OSU contract, that trustees consider partnering with OhioHealth, which offered the same services at a lower cost of $8,640.
The Delaware Gazette obtained the following list of awards Yamarick received during his tenure as the township’s medical director (list may not contain every award):
• 2017 State of Ohio EMS Star of Life Award
• 2011 Franklin University Leadership Scholar Award — Care for the Underserved
• 2011 Columbus Business First — Advocate of the Year
• 2011 Ohio Governor’s Council People with Disabilities
• 2011 American Red Cross — Selection Committee Hero — Special Needs Registry
• 2011 EMS Provider of the Year (Organization) — Ohio Department of Public Safety
• 2010 Ohio Public Image Award — Award of Merit for Individual or Organization
• 2010 Franklin University 1902 Leadership Award to Enhance Your Community
• 2009 Powell Area Public Employee of the year
Yamarick’s last day of service as medical director was Jan. 31.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.