Thursday, June 05, 2014

Mancini Termination In Trouble

Jill Mancini is a former assistant Northampton County Solicitor. Unlike the other assistants, who were part-time and had their own practices, she was a full-time employee. But she was among the first to be fired when John Brown became the new Executive. She has sued in federal court, but also sought relief before the County's Personnel Appeals Board. That quasi-judicial body conducted two days of hearings, and just finished last night. A decision is imminent.

Northampton County has four kinds of employees: elected officials; "exempt" employees who serve at the pleasure of either the Executive or the Courts; "career service" employees who can only be fired for cause and after due process; and union employees who have rights under their bargaining agreements. The question before the Personnel Appeals Board is where Mancini fits. If she is exempt, she's out of luck and out of a job. But if she was a career service employee, then her termination is illegal.

By way of full disclosure, I should tell you I was not present for this hearing. I slipped over to Allentown's Cedar Beach to watch basketball after discovering that there would be no zoning hearing board meeting in Bethlehem. But sources who were there tell me the administration attempted to argue that Mancini was some sort of hybrid exempt and career service employee. The only problem with that argument is that no such hybrid exists, either in the Administrative Code or the Home Rule Charter.

A human resources employee who testified that Mancini was never told that she was career service was hoisted on her own petard. Apparently, she had sent Mancini emails telling her that she is, in fact, career service.

Since the testimony has concluded, I imagine the Personnel Appeals Board will soon decide this matter. It looks bad for the County.

The County was represented by outside counsel. Although the Administrative Code permits the Solicitor to do this, he must get permission from the Executive and County Council. I am unaware that this happened.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stoffa cr3eated this situation and John Brown inherited the consequences of absentee management.

Anonymous said...

i actually sympathize with brown on this one

Anonymous said...

did they do any sort of competitive and open hiring process, or did they just choose who they wanted? the former would be career service, the latter, exempt.

Anonymous said...

Arrogance and ignorance on the part of Brown and Scomillio as evidenced by the past 5 months caused this debacle. Before acting they should have bothered to read the Home Rile Charter. btw it's "hoist" not "foist" and yes indeed the County is the author of its own demise.

Anonymous said...

There were no full time solicitors until Stoffa & Longenbach created her a political patronage position. Unfortunately it looks like Brown/Scomilio screwed up and the taxpayers will wind up writing her a check to go away.

If the outside counsel was not approved by Council, he shouldn't be paid for his work. Time for an audit!

Anonymous said...

John Brown needs to stop listening to Lucy and some other misguided friends He has, I am very disappointed that I for wasted My vote on what I thought would be a great choice...comon Mr Brown get Your head out of Your ass 1st Sheriff Miller now this...and to date both these employees have done great things for the county, You really need to eat some crow and bring both back...it would definately make You look alittle more itteligent

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:45, I understand your point. I thought she was a lousy county employee and was even worse as a RTK officer who just ignored requests. But the law is the law. If she was career service, she was entitled to due process.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:16, that is the problem. Though Longenbach was clearly looking for a spot for her. This was not a political patronage job. It was career service.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:49, what makes you think Lucy ever even heard of Mancini? Look, she was a terrible worker and was no longer trusted by the admin that hired her. She was always scheming to be placed somewhere else, like Director of Admin. And she thought nothing of sticking it to Ingrid. I don't like her.

But having said that, the law is the law.

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:47, I don't think there was any open or competitive process for her. But I don't think that makes her exempt, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

the law is, in fact, the law.

am i the only one hankering for a John Brown/Judge Dredd "I am the LAW" meme?

Anonymous said...

I think you meant "hoisted with her own petard".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, I did. Will change.Duh.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day even career service is "who they want" because they pretend to interview a few people and pick the person they want. Saw it happen. many employees over there are of that variety.

Human Resources is full of those types.

Anonymous said...

The Republican party has many principled supporters and elected representatives. It is not a party that is indifferent to the law, the truth and the lives and well being of individual citizens. As such it is faced with the growing embarrassment of a County Executive and his chief legal advisor who in the short time they have been in office have repeatedly ignored these principles to the detriment of the County, its employees and its tax payers. Scomillio, blinded by personal ambition, wants to be a judge. Brown, still pinching himself regarding his election, no doubt hopes to survive for a second term. They espouse fiscal conservatism while committing costly actions that will result in exorbitant legal fees for outside counsel and damages that will exceed any supposed savings.
More and more voters are expressing buyer’s remorse. Their lack of knowledge regarding the basic laws governing the County would simply be laughable if it they had done no harm. The County cannot afford the highly touted greater efficiency of the Solicitor’s office.

Anonymous said...

Being certain that you wouldn’t cast aspersions upon a person without first knowing the facts, please inform your gentle readers what your investigative reporting revealed about the Register of Wills employee matter as to the following:
1. Whose decision was it to fire the two individuals?
2. With whom did that individual consult before making his decision?
3. With whom did that individual not consult before making the decision?
You might also answer the question: Does an attorney have a professional responsibility to advocate the position of his client even if he shares a different personal view as to the wisdom of the action?
Your admitted bias has blinded you to the truth as usual. As much as you decry personal attacks you have once again used your little blog to engage in a vendetta under the pretext of serving the public good. You are a cruel, contemptible individual. If you ever bother to learn what really happened, one can only hope that your apology will be given equal prominence with the trail of lies you have spewed forth.

Anonymous said...

I like you BOH, regardless of what 5:03PM has stuck in their ass. I thought this was a good objective column, but somehow 5:03 sees evidence here you are a cruel, contemptible human being with a vendetta. Whatever. You can't please everyone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:03 is obviously Mancini. Let me fill you in. A few years ago, the Stoffa admin fired two employees in the Register of Wills Office who were exchanging naughty emails. Stoffa made the mistake of listening to Archie D'Isidore. I was highly critical of this decision and of Stoffa's rile in it. He ultimately relented and put these two back to work, though in different departments. After they were re-hired, and in fact after the county lost two unemployment comp hearings in which it was represented by Mancini, she began sending out emails complaining about the termination and not being consulted. Those emails found there way into my hands. In those emails, she was undermining her own boss. Now, anonymously, she is doing the same thing here, essentially speaking poorly of her client. In other words, she is acting unethically, and is discussing things only a few of s know.

This ethical violation comes as no surprise to me. What can one expect from someone who clearly got her job bc of her relationship with her immediate supervisor? And both she and that Supervisor, Karl Longenbach, constantly lobbied for her. They wanted her appointed as Director of Admin. They wanted her appointed some kind of super lawyer in charge of the others.

Although it seems to me that Mancini is a career service employee who could not be arbitrarily fired, i still have a low opinion of her. I believe ample grounds existed to fire her for cause. I know very few employees who respected her. Vic Scomillio probably wanted to spare her the humiliation of firing her for cause.

I became her enemy when I exposed her relationship with the Solicitor, which I think was highly inappropriate. I have copies of some of her rants about me and her highly inappropriate remarks about the county she was supposedly representing. They are doozies. I probably should forward them to Scomillio.

Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder how the register of wills got that job, first working for Karl, being friends with this jill, they held the position until she was off probation from elections...The company you keep. you lay with dogs,eventually you get fleas

Bernie O'Hare said...

Her involvement in that matter is something she conveniently fails to mention here. There are emails there, too.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day this mess must be laid at the feet of John Stoffa. he is either guilty of incompetence or active ethical indifference.