WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A visiting judge denied granting a permanent protection order against Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko.

After a three-hour hearing held over Zoom, Judge Patricia Cosgrove ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the menacing by stalking allegation. Therefore, she denied granting the permanent civil protection order.

Board of Commissioners Clerk Paula Vivoda-Klotz was previously granted a temporary protection order last month over claims of harassment and retaliation.

At the end of Friday’s hearing, Judge Cosgrove made sure to note that although she was disturbed by what she heard during the hearing, she was appalled by the behavior of both the commissioner and county employees. She called it unprofessional and demeaning to the meaning of the word “public servant.”

Judge Cosgrove made the following comments during the hearing:

“I would say you’re both acting like fifth graders but that’s an insult to fifth graders.”

“I cannot believe both Trumbull County employees and the Trumbull County commissioner go on these sites and demean and talk about each other.”

“I cannot believe that we have public officials and public employees running around using their cell phones, calling employees by demeaning words, using foul language. It is distressing that everyone seems to be doing it.”

Frenchko later made the following comments after the hearing:

“The words that the judge said, I believe, are as meritless as the case is.”

“The judge based her commentary today on the same thing she based the original T.R.O. on and that is a one-sided hearing.”

“It’s unfortunate that she spoke the way she did without even knowing the facts. Though I’m happy with the decision, there should have been no commentary where the judge didn’t get to see the other side.”

Frenchko says because the protection order was dismissed without her even presenting her side, she believes it shows the case was meritless.