|Abe Kassis has come out for Sam Murray|
I told you yesterday that a federal district court judge has just sanctioned Northampton County with $186,000 in legal fees that were incurred by Northampton County employee Jill Mancini, who was improperly fired by Vic Scomillio when he became the County's Solicitor. A jury had previously awarded her $94,000. Scomillio fired her just two days before Christmas, in a call he made from his car.
In addition to violating her due process rights, Scomillio showed little compassion for her financial situation. Although there's no constitutional right to compassionate treatment, do you really want a cold, heartless judge?
Below is part of a Jill Mancini deposition taken before the trial in this matter. Id this the kind of person you want sitting on judgment of you or someone you love?
Q. On December 23rd when Victor Scomillio called you about the elimination of the full-time positions, you were -- at that point you were already aware that that was being proposed, isn't that correct?
A. I was aware, yes.
Q. It was not a shock to you when he told you that his proposal was to eliminate the full-time positions in the solicitor's office?
A. I would say it wasn't a surprise but that was a shock.
Q. What do you recall as to your conversation with Mr. Scomillio?
A. I recall our conversation opened with congratulations to Mr. Scomillio for his appointment, his presentment appointment. He told me that the positions -- that as of January 7 he was eliminating -- the -- the part-timers were gone and he was eliminating the positions, and then the full-timers would be gone and I would be unemployed as of January 7. So there were -- Victor was on his cell phone in his car. It was very difficult to hear, very difficult to have this kind of conversation. But essentially what happened was at that point when he said to me, I am going to eliminate the positions as of January 7th, you won't be employed, it was clear to me there was a problem with understanding the law. So I decided to ask him, to appeal to humanity. It was two days before Christmas. And there's no time to look for a job. And there was no expectation that I would have to until a few days before he called me. So I asked him if we could delay the end date. And he told me that was not his call. And so I asked him if he would like me to call John Brown or contact him and make that request. And I don't exactly recall what he did say.
Then the next question was, well, how will you eliminate my position because I am a career service -- eliminate -- fire me, there's no just cause, and I am a career service person. And he said, no, you are a career exempt person. I said, no, that is a pay scale. It has nothing to do with protected status. He told me to look at the resolution that created my job and I told him I have. It says nothing about my status, which means I am a career service status. Because unless a resolution says exempt, the position is a career service. Pay grade career exempt has nothing to do with protected status.
Q. Is that what you told him in your conversation or --
A. I did. That's what we discussed. Then there was some discussion about that. And then I said, well, in any case, how can you release me because the position exists? And he said, I am going to eliminate it. I said, well, you can't because that's council's job. So he said he would make a request to council. And I said, well, you will only be -- you are not -- that was another thing too was, how can you make this decision because you are not employed by the county at this time? You are presumptively employed but not yet. So I asked him, you would make that request two days after you have been appointed and approved by council? And there wasn't much discussion about that. Then I said, look, it's just too difficult to have this conversation over the telephone. Why -- when will you be in the office next? And Victor told me, I won't be in the office. And I said, okay, how about if I write you a memo and also make the request for a delayed end date, termination date? And he said, okay. I said, do you have an e-mail? He said, fax me the memo. I said, do you have the fax number? He said, call my secretary. I said, okay, goodbye. And that was it. But I will add this, there was never -- it is a misstatement to say that the reason that I was not offered a part-time position had anything to do with my attitude, because there was never any indication that I was going to be offered a part-time position, either by John Brown at the time he spoke to Karl -- his statement to Karl was that I was not going to be there. And the first thing out of Victor's mouth was, we are eliminating the positions and you will be terminated, effective January 7th.
Q. Did you ever prepare a memo for Mr. Scomillio?
Q. Why not?
A. It was clear to me that the decision to eliminate and terminate the full-time assistant solicitors had very little to do with what it was alleged to have to do with; i.e., it was in my mind inconsistent with the law, number one; and number two, was inconsistent with any practical advantage that could be served to the office. So obviously there was another agenda. Why would I invest my time and energy into a useless exercise?
Q. Have you had any discussions with Mr. Scomillio as far as the reasons why he was eliminating the full-time positions?
A. I e-mailed him on two separate occasions and asked for an explanation as to the law and as to any other considerations concerning his decision to eliminate the positions. He never responded to either one.
Q. And do you recall when you sent him the e-mails?
A. Prior to the time that I left. Prior to the 24th of January. As a matter of fact, I think my final request to him was just after he sent the e-mail from the council meeting notifying Mike Alpago, the other full-time assistant, and me that council had approved the elimination of the positions. I sent an e-mail asking him, just as a matter of respect and consideration for somebody who has worked here and worked this hard, would you please be so kind as to give me a legal basis for your -- the authority to do what you are doing and also to give me a description of why you want to do it?
If this is the kind of person you want deciding cases for your loved ones, then by all means vote for Scomillio.