JFS worker canned for porn, threats

A screener with the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services was fired Tuesday for threatening one of the agency's clients and using computer equipment to access pornography. Nichole "Nicki" Baker had been a screener since March 7, 2005. She was hired as a HCDJFS clerical specialist Jan. 12, 2004.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


A screener with the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services was fired Tuesday for threatening one of the agency's clients and using computer equipment to access pornography.

Nichole "Nicki" Baker had been a screener since March 7, 2005. She was hired as a HCDJFS clerical specialist Jan. 12, 2004.

Baker was fired effective immediately for acting inappropriately toward a client while on the agency's time and making "repeated remarks" and using profanity toward the client, HCDJFS Interim Director Lowell Etzler said. She reportedly used agency telephones to threaten the same woman and violated "common decency" standards by calling the client a vulgar name via text messaging, Etzler said.

Between June 8 and 22, Baker excessively used her Yahoo! e-mail account and used agency computers to access pornography, he continued. Etzler, who became the interim director June 1 to replace Erich Dumbeck, said he didn't have any knowledge of other HCDJFS employees doing similar things.

Baker's job as a screener was to make the initial contact with someone who reports a complaint to the agency, Etzler explained.

"They get the information from the individual and turn it over to a case worker," he added.

Three other HCDJFS employees were told Friday their jobs would be eliminated, effective Aug. 24.

The positions held by assistant program administrator Marla White, eligibility/referral supervisor Jon Kelley and public information officer Stacia Badovick were eliminated due to staff cuts to save about $173,000.

Only one of those people, Kelley, was offered another job to follow cvil services rules and regulations.

"She is exercising her displacement rights," HCDJFS Assistant Director Bonnie Richards said, and has decided to be an eligibility specialist. Kelley could start the case worker position as soon as Aug. 27.

Richards said earlier the agency was "looking at a lot of other avenues before cutting staff." She also had said the three cuts were part of a "reorganization for the entire agency."

Etzler wasn't sure if HCDJFS would hire someone to take over Baker's position.

"We're in the process of doing some reorganization so that (decision) will fall under that," he said.

In January, a Huron County Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer dismissed a employment discrimination complaint Baker filed against Dumbeck, the agency's director from May 2004 through June 1 of this year.

The EEO officer concluded that evidence didn't support Baker's "claim of adverse employment decisions." However, she said Dumbeck's conduct during various phone calls and e-mails to two administrative employees was "unwarranted and unwise."

In April, Baker filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against Dumbeck, HCDJFS and the county commissioners, saying she had been passed over for five promotions because of "Dumbeck's infatuations with her." She accused Dumbeck of making "unwelcome physical contact" by reportedly touching her on the hips, shoulders and back and said he made an "unwelcome advance," all between January and 2004 and January of this year.

Baker and Dumbeck had a personal relationship starting in January 2004, when they were co-workers supervised by different administrators.

"There's nothing going on (now) I know of," Richards said about the lawsuit. "It's still pending."


AlterEgo (Anonymous)

If you truly care about animals then you would not mention PETA. This si a rougue organization that would rather poison dogs themselves than to see them in Dog Shows such as the Westminster Kennel Club shows. If you truly gave a crap about the animals you would consider working with the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,

Neighbor (Anonymous)

So Erich had a affair with Nicki. She is the low life that was after a married man. Yep she was a file clerk that thought she should of got promoted because she had sex with a him before he was the director. Come on people lets get this girl out of town. Ask her X all about her.

got what she de...

She is trying to play the innocent person, Erich gropping her and wanting her. Maybe that is what she saw in her little mind. I don't believe that he pursued her after HE broke off the affair. She wanted more and he said no, so now she wants to get even.

Perspective (An...

And he got what he deserved? Promoted to Director of Childrens Services? By commissoners who, according to the investigation, new of the affair? Were there no objections from fellow HCDJFS managers, human resources, the union, and the counties EEO, who also, according to the counties EEO investigation knew of the affair? Seems to me, we, the citizens of the county, got exactly what we deserved. National embarassment, and multiple lawsuits. As for the children placed under this orginizations care, it seems they got a bit less than they deserved. For the record, it seems worth mentioning...one of them is dead.

ged (Anonymous)

I am glad that there is a major shake up in the HCDJFS offices .. it is very obvious that there was alot of fraternizing going on out there with Eric Dumbeck at the helm .. and i am glad he is gone .. he has alot of nerve in applying for that coveted position over in Sandusky .. he is a party boy and a cheat , and he has destroyed an already failing system , i hope that he is put out to pasture , instead of being rewarded by giving him the Sandusky job ... i believe that there is alot of dead weight out there at HCDJFS's and i hope that this is just the begining of the complete overhaul .. i don't know about you , but i am tired of our children being "caged" and "stabbed" because of incompetitency of the people who have more time for inappropriate behavior and ridicule , than they do for protecting our children

Surly (Anonymous)

Maybe he should change his name to Dumbfeck.

Ex???? (Anonymous)

Hey Neighbor????? Who's the Ex? I'd absolutly love to hear his input.

dear ged (Anonymous)

just to clear the record, huron county didn't put those kids in cages or did they stab them. where were the parents that were suppose to be taking care of these kids? shouldn't they be to blame? we taxpayers should not have to pay for children to be taken care of the system, parents need to be held responsible.

Kids (Anonymous)

Sorry to hear you feel this way about our children and the priorities of your tax dollars. I for one, would feel great if all of my tax dollars went to the health and welfare of all disadvantaged children. And not a dime anywhere else.

re: dear ged, r...

Quoted text from the Morning Journal of 3/21/07: Huron County Department of Job and Family Services employee testified yesterday that she knew the department had ''substantiated'' information of Paul Efaw abusing children when she approved his application to be a foster parent. Suzie Sidell approved Efaw as a foster parent but had a file of information detailing several incidents where Efaw was accused of sexually, physically and emotionally abusing not only his biological children but also his stepchildren, she testified yesterday in the Huron County Common Pleas Court. Records detailed in the department's files included information that Efaw was found to have physically abused his biological children in the 1980s, according to Sidell's testimony. A complaint that Efaw had hit his children was found to be ''substantiated,'' while a complaint that he emotionally abused the children was ''indicated,'' Sidell said.''You found that there was a substantiated case where Mr. Efaw abused his own children, didn't you?'' Martin asked.''Yes,'' Sidell replied.''And, you still approved him, didn't you?'' Martin asked.''Yes,'' she replied.
''He also admits to having a bad temper, didn't he?'' Martin asked.''Yes,'' Sidell again replied. Other information included in the file alleged Efaw defecated in his stepdaughter's face ''for punishment,'' made his son kill two cats, hit the children with a variety of objects and left bruises and marks on them, according to Sidell's testimony. Documents in the Job and Family Services file detailed complaints of Efaw's children telling social workers that he sexually abused them by asking them to ''play with his private area,'' according to Sidell's testimony.

dear kids (Anon...

not saying that money shouldn't be spent on the kids. i am saying that it is not the counties fault that these things happened. there are parents and adults who should be held responsible for their actions. my point as a taxpayer is that i shouldn't have to be responsible to raise everyone's child. the parents should. i don't give money to my neighbor to help raise their children. they work, they come home, they are parents and take responsbility for their children as i do mine. we need to stop blaming the county and start working together to get these parents to start taking care of their children.

re dear kids (A...

Hear Hear, finally someone is on track. when I was growing up if I did something wrong I was punished. Now days it is always someone elses fault for a problem. We should not have foster homes, if ya make um you take care of them. I would like to see more money going to educate our children. Maybe if we did that they would be up educationaly with the rest of the world. I am tired of paying for them to lay around, get pregnat.

guess what (Ano...

I heard!!!! Not one of the sites they found on nikki's computer was p**n!!!!!!! Talk about a shocker!!!! LOL

re: guess what ...

Yea. Not ONE site was p**n. They ALL were! LOL

re re guess wha...

wow, you really don't have a clue!!!! none of them were!!!

ged (Anonymous)

thank you to the person who backed up my feelings about the lack of judgement on the part of the HCDJFS employees ... yes they were aware of the dangerous situations that they were putting the foster children in when they were at the Gravelle house, and also at the Efaw house .. thank you for the statistics to back up my statements ... and to the people who want to do away with the foster care system , and say basically " if you have em , you raise em ?" shame on you .. it is a sorry fact of life that some people are really good at producing kids , but don't have any skills in raising them !! so someone has to help raise these kids who have don't have a snowballs chancs of making anything of their lives without our help ... it would be nice , and we would sure be in a better world if before anyone was "allowed" to have kids , they at least had the same amount of instructions as it takes to drive a car !! but that will never happen , so we have an agency that is supposed to oversee the placement of our children in foster care , and make sure that they are as safe as humanly possible , and that system , at least in Huron county , seems to be failing us , and our children, and this needs to change

newshound (Anon...

So tell us, oh all-knowing "guess what", who exactly is the they that checked the computer sites?

re newshound (A...

you'll see......

Re Hey (Anonymous)

You guys aren't very smart, all information and where you go on the internet is saved in Columbus. You can delete everything off your computer and Colubus has copies on their backup files "EVERYTHING".

re answer to he...

If they save everything, that means all the sites that all workers have gone to are saved and can be used against them at any time. Wonder how many started deleting stuff after Nicki was fired not knowing it will never go away?

re ged (Anonymous)

Are you a foster parent and how long have you been one?

ged (Anonymous)

to "re ged" the answer to your question Sharon , is no , i am not a foster parent currently .. and yes i know that you are .. please tell us all again about the 2 foster kids that you are raising , and also about your brother and his struggle for sobriety

she (Anonymous)

still has no business using agency computers for personal sh*t. p0rn or no p0rn. fire the slut.