Monday, November 26, 2012

County Appeals Naughty Email Ruling

Welcome to the People's Republic of Northampton County! Here, in complete violation of the County's nepotism policy, we have a cabinet level official engaged in a relationship with a direct subordinate. We might have a smuggling ring at the prison involving guards, according to a case that Northampton County settled in September for $200,000. But we'll have no naughty emails. Especially from Clerks.

While writing that $200,000 check over that little contraband ring, County officials canned two NorCo Register of Wills employees who were admittedly sending naughty emails to each other, as well as their boyfriends.

While asleep at the switch about a frickin' smuggling ring, one County official was quietly conducting a two-year investigation into the email dalliances of these women. Director of Court Services Archie (Inspector Gadget) D'Isidore was on the case. To make sure they weren't tipped off, he even gave them positive evaluations while perusing their private emails.

Creepy.

When he finally sprung the trap, these single mothers were summarily fired. A union grievance was denied, and the County refused to pay unemployment.

In addition to filing for arbitration, both employees asked for an unemployment hearing. One case has been heard, and a Referee has ruled in the employee's favor. Since the County allowed this practice to continue for two years without taking any corrective action, it's in no position to claim there's been any misconduct at all, ruled Referee Gary Wardecki.

Game over.

Anyone with any sense could see that this reasoning is a basis for reinstatement, with back pay.

Anyone with any sense could see that the second of these fired County workers, whose case will be heard by the same referee on the same exact issue, is going to get unemployment.

Anyone with any sense could see that both workers, who are both represented by Easton Attorneys Brian and Colin Monahan, are not going gently into that good night.

But this is the People's Republic of Northampton County, where smuggling drugs into the can is OK, but naughty emails are horrible.

Instead of cutting its losses on a case it will surely lose, the County has just appealed the Referee's unemployment compensation ruling.

One of Referee Wardecki's conclusions is that D'Isidore lacked credibility. That's the kind of finding that kills an appeal. There is no way he will be reversed on that finding.

Instead of hammering single mothers with the ultimate sanction for an admitted mistake, Executive John Stoffa should be looking a little more closely at his own cabinet. And the jail.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should name names, and not just accuse a cabinet member or nepotism. Put some facts out there, and let the chips fall where they may.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The facts are out there. I have not named the cabinet official and his subordinate for the same reason I have not named the fired employees. Their identity is irrelevant. If it becomes relevant, I will name the cabinet level official. I certainly won't do so just to satisfy your anonymous prurient interest.

Anonymous said...

I know you hate Archie becasue Ron Angle has wanted him fired for years but this is John Stoffa's fault. No one gets fired in Northampton County without his OK. YOu know that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't "hate" Archie, and yes, this is Stoffa's doing.

Mark Baker said...

BO, you keep talking about common sense. If there was common sense in the halls of the county this would never have happened.

I am going to guess that the weak kneed county solicitor has weighed in on this issue.

When this is all over archie , karl and john are going to look like complete asses and these ladies are going to come out on top. And the citizens will get to pay for this foolishness.

soffa is earning his legacy

Uncle Remus said...

I smell a pig roast coming on

Anonymous said...

Wow Bernie,

I'm impressed..A concern for employees isnt usually your strong suit, especially where Stoffa is concerned. Glad to see this because you are right on in regard to this matter. Not sure , however, if the relationship between a cabinet level person and their subordinate is a firing offense though. If they are doing their jobs, who cares if they are sleeping together.

Anonymous said...

"One of Referee Wardecki's conclusions is that D'Isidore lacked credibility. That's the kind of finding that kills an appeal. There is no way he will be reversed on that finding."

In unemployment compensation hearings, isn't the Unemployment Board of Review the factfinder and the ultimate arbiter of credibility? Ross v. Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Review, 861 A.2d 1019 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2004. Unlike other appeals, the UCBR can accept or reject the referee's credibility finding.

I'm not saying they will as I have no clue how often they do reverse such findings, but you can't say there is "no way" it will get reversed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"In unemployment compensation hearings, isn't the Unemployment Board of Review the factfinder and the ultimate arbiter of credibility? Ross v. Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Review, 861 A.2d 1019 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2004. Unlike other appeals, the UCBR can accept or reject the referee's credibility finding."

True, but they are loathe to do so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Not sure , however, if the relationship between a cabinet level person and their subordinate is a firing offense though. If they are doing their jobs, who cares if they are sleeping together."

Most do. It presents a conflict of interest. A cabinet official serves at will. I don;t really care myself but hate the hypocrisy of allowing that while coming all over clerks for something far less sinister.

Anonymous said...

The jail..is a den of vipers where the feint of heart fear to tread. This is a job for Morganelli as it appears the Executive wants no part of it and it seems he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Corruption abounds there on many levels..who's got the nerve to peel the rotten onion?

Anonymous said...

Pension protection is the rule of law at the jail. CYA and the code of silence reigns supreme. This is the fox watching the hen house.

Anonymous said...

Cabinet level officials have been sleeping with employees for years. Reibman had a few, Seyfried had them and Stoffa has had a few. Where is the story here?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The story here is an uneven enforcement of county employee olicies. There is a policy that prohibits this kind of conflict of interest. It was signed by Stoffa in 2007. I linked to it in an earlier blog.

You cannot acquiesce in a blatant violation that presents a conflict of interest and demoralizes staff, while hammering low level employees.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa ahs always said one thing and done another. It is the hallmark of his entire career.

Nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

Enough of this boring blog subject! You promised a story about BVF's latest self-aggrandizing statement in front of council. Inquiring minds want to know. I am ready to cancel my subscription!

Anonymous said...

No matter where you work, if the boss sees you are not putting 100% of your job everyday. He, or should I say they, will get rid of you T any cost. But the public don't see them using our tax money keeping the two clerks from working or at least collecting unemployment. Our tax money can be used for something better then what they think is rigjt. They are all full of s???.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:40, I will deal with Baron von Footinmouth, but this story is of great interest to me. What happened to these ladies is inherently unfair. If I don't shed light on it, who? The papers can't cover this bc they don't have the names. But in my view, this is a story that needs to be told.

I will refund you your subscription price.

Anonymous said...

The county is better off without these two ingrates. This is another one of your misguided crusades Bernie.

Anonymous said...

the sign of a good leader is being even handed... seems power has gone to stoffa's head...

Anonymous said...

What happened to these two employees is nothing more than a department head with too much time on his hands trying to justify his job. Rumors have it Bernie, that these two employees were making disparaging remarks about their new boss because of the way she got her job. The remarks also may have said something about her physical stature. Being a Courthouse employee we know who the couple is that you claim are having an affair. Don't you find it interesting that these are the same people who have their fingers in the Registrar of Wills mess and the firing of two clerks. When you talk about "Peyton Place" go to the third floor. The most disgusting part of all this is that John Stoffa condones their sexual escapades. My opinion of Stoffa is not what it was when he was an employee in Human Services. He is a big disappointment. He should do what is right and Fire the present Director of Court Services and hire those two clerks back.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They were naughty emails, to be sure.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa allowed a past Director to have his fling, why should he stop the fun now?