At last night's hearing, Rosati was represented by Pat Reilly, a partner at the Allentown Gross McGinley law firm who successfully sued the County when it fired Assistant Solicitor Jill Mancini. The County was represented by labor attorney Tom Heimbach, who is with the Allentown office of FlammWalton. Providing legal advice to the Board, and acting as a quasi hearing officer, was Christian Perrucci of Bethlehem's Florio law firm.
Northampton County's five-member Personnel Appeals Board, whose members are appointed by the Executive and confirmed by County Council, include the following: Bill Alexander, himself a retired corrections officer; Dave "Lump" Sanders, owner of Bethlehem's revered Table of Knowledge at Lump's Deli; Ralph Stampone, owner of Ralph's Radiator and inspector of my now deceased Jeep; Pen Argyl's John Dally, who also sits on the Gaming Board; and Pat Siemiontkowski, who retired recently as Northampton County's own HR Director.
The Personnel Appeals Board adjudicates grievances filed by career service employees. These are the nonunion workers. There is a separate grievance procedure for union employees
Because Pat Siemiontkowski has only recently retired and had some familiarity with Rosati, Perrucci decided to recuse her. Being able to go home early on a hot summer night brought a smile to her face. Before anyone could change his mind, she was gone. (Pat, if I spelled your name wrong, I am sorry).
Who is Jason Rosati?
He's already admitted he's a hard ass. He's also a decorated Navy veteran who served for five years as a Seabee and participated in Desert Storm. He's also a father of four, and his wife accompanied him to last night's hearing.
During his stint in the Navy, he learned to value military discipline. You can see that in him today, with a military crew cut and erect posture.
His military discipline has served him well in over 20 years of corrections at Northampton County's jail. He worked his way up through the ranks to become a Lieutenant, a position he has held for the past five years.
He told Lump Sanders that it can be stressful and that he's lost a lot of friends. "If I had to do it all over again, I'd stay a corrections officer," he candidly admitted.
He testified he is a "stickler for details" who holds corrections officers to a "higher standard." He enforces the uniform policy. "It starts there," he explained. "Pride in your uniform. Pride in your job."
In stark contrast to by-the-book Rosati, there's a corrections officer at the jail named Kim Yedlosky. She's more of a free spirit, is excitable and made Secret Service agents very nervous when Vice President Biden visited The Blue in 2010. She even began to taunt them until a fellow tea partier settled her down.
Over the past three years, Rosati and Yedlosky have had a number of confrontation over her disregard for the uniform policy and Rosati's insistence that it be followed. He has written her up several times.
Who is Cathy Allen?
She sat in on last night's hearing and is the Deputy Administrator. She is a high school grad who ran a two-person office and had no experience in County government.Though she has no supervisory authority, she asserted herself at the jail, and even moved between 60 and 80 files to the Executive's Office. She began reviewing old discipline reports and actually wanted to discipline some officers a second time for old offenses until Pat Siemiontkowski educated her on this little thing called double jeopardy.
Attorney Reilly produced evidence at the hearing, including Allen's own job description, demonstrating that she has no jail oversight.
Is Yedlosky a Cathy Allen Snitch?
That's what Attorney Reilly argued last night. Operations Manager Alfie Crivellaro, who played a big role in firing Rosati, admitted that Yedlosky let it be known throughout the jail that she has a relationship with Allen. Though he denied ever hearing her referred to as a snitch, he testified that Yedlosky may believe she is protected.
According to Rosati, other supervisors are afraid of her, and call her Teflon Kim because nothing ever sticks. "She makes it known that Miss Allen supports her. They are afraid."
Attorney Reilly argued and Rosati testified that Crivellaro is afraid, too. Crivellaro, who was placed on ARD for providing alcohol to minors, was told by Allen that he should not be working at the jail. Crivellaro denied this when he testified, but Rosati also insisted that Crivellaro had warned him to "watch your back" and that Allen had both of their personnel files.
Rosati also testified that Yedlosky approached corrections officer Troy Frey and threatened that unless he provided her with dirt on Rosati, she was going to see that Frey was fired. She was disciplined after that confrontation, according to both Rosati and Crivellaro
Eventually, Warden Todd Buskirk called Rosati into his office and told him that if he decides he needs to discipline Yedlosky in the future, he needed to get approval from a Captain. "We are trying to protect your job," Buskirk reportedly told Rosati.
Rosati Disciplines Yedlosky
On January 7, Yedlosky came to work with her top three shirt buttons left open, exposing a V-neck T-shirt and a choker necklace. Those may not be worn while on duty. Rosati told Yedlosky to button her blouse and she ignored him. When he checked later, her shirt was still unbuttoned. As a result, Rosati wrote up the incident and forwarded the matter to Captain David Collins for approval, and he got it.
He explained his reasoning.
"If she can't be counted on to tie her shoes, how can I count on her when she needs to go into a cell to protect another officer?"
But two days later, Al Crivellaro told Rosati that he was withdrawing the discipline because it is not enforced evenly.
"That's Bullshit!"exclaimed Rosati, who threatened to go over Crivellaro's head. Crivellaro acknowledged that he and Rosati have used profanity with each other for years, and was not offended. But he was offended by Rosati's attitude. Rosati believed Crivellaro pulled the discipline because he is afraid of Yedlosky and Allen. Crivellaro insisted other corrections officers were not being disciplined, a point that Rosati disputed.
Rosati Fired For Enforcing Uniform Policy
After thisconfrontation, things snowballed against Rosati. On January 12, he was suspended without pay, pending an investigation into his conduct. With only a few days notice, Corrections Director Dan Keen conducted a termination hearing on January 26. Though Rosati had witnesses available to testify, they were not allowed. Though he desired to have an attorney, that was denied as well. Keen abruptly stopped the hearing, told Crivellaro to look into how many times Rosati had disciplined Yedlosky in the past. Rosati testified he was given no opportunity to present a defense.
"There was no due process," Reilly argued, reminding the Board that a federal jury determined that former Assistant Solicitor Jill Mancini had been denied due process, too.
On February 21, Rosati received a letter informing him that he was terminated..
After three and a half hours, Rosati rested his case. When the Board meets again, the county will be provided an opportunity to tell its story. After that, the Board will decide to sustain or deny Rosati's appeal.
No date has been set.
Keen , who recently conducted a sweep at the jail and found nothing, complained of "complacency." You would think, therefore, that he would want Supervisors who insist on the best from corrections officers.