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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Will NorCo Council Reverse Raise They Unanimously Approved?

Chris Spadoni
On April 14, a group of NORCO AFSCME clerical staffers, including Magisterial District Judge (MDJ) employees, were told to pack the next Council meeting because they were all about to get a 4.5% raise above and beyond whatever would be decided in an arbitration of their union contracts. It was a proposal made by the John Brown administration, and it included 17 MDJ staffers already at the top of their scale. The resolution passed unanimously and everyone lived happily ever after. Until the next paycheck. The day before that was issued, the same 17 MDJ employees who had been promised a raise received a fax telling them it wasn't happening. Now, instead of a raise, they have Bethlehem Attorney Chris Spadoni. The Executive wants to rescind that portion of the raise applying to these 17 workers, who are at the top of their pay scale, and is calling the resolution unanimously adopted by Council a scrivener's error.

Under the doctrine of scrivener's error, a mistake in a document ma be corrected by evidence that is clear, convincing and precise. But what is involved here actually goes beyond a mere typo. It appears to have been a unilateral mistake - a good faith error. It also appears that these 17 MDJ employees, along with the union representing them, had nothing to do with this error. It appears to have been one created by the Administration's negligence.

Ken Kraft wants this to go away. 
At yesterday's hearing, Deputy Administrator Cathy Allen stated that the intent was to "bring up the lower paid people." She added that AFSCME union agent Justus James was aware that the "people at the top are to be red circled."

But Ken Kraft disputed Allen's interpretation, noting that the resolution itself refers to recruitment and retention.

Executive John Brown stated it "was never intended that the people at the top of the scale would be getting a 4.5% increase. My apologies to the people who were affected by this." He also argued, along with Mat Benol and Peg Ferraro, that it would create a precedent under which other pay grades would come in and demand increases, too. Benol called it a "slippery slope."

Chris Spadoni, who represents the 17 people he calls "the front line of our justice system," argued that no precedent would be set because those higher pay grades were never a part of the resolution. They aren't on the slope.

Brown indicated that unless Council amends the resolution, he will be forced to litigate the matter.

If he does, my guess is he loses. Neither these workers nor their union induced this mistake, which is the result of the Administration's own lack of due care. It also appears that these workers relied on the Administration's pledge.

"This is a contract that's been reneged on," concluded Bob Werner.

Though this matter was tabled, it is on the agenda for tonight's meeting.


Anonymous said...

Your readers are on to you.
First we have Miked Fleck - Best Ever -
Justice James

Anonymous said...

This was a screw up, but if a salary can be increased, why can't it be lowered? Why is this Deputy Director always involved in these messes? Where is HR and Campos?

Anonymous said...

I say take the raises back since a lot of them got raises on top of these after their contracts were approved. I would like a 9% raise ??

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This was a screw up, but if a salary can be increased, why can't it be lowered? "

It can be if five members of Council say so.

Anonymous said...

Allen is involved because she has become lead jester in the Clown administration. Wherever she walks she steps in cow poo. What would you expect if she was involved?

Anonymous said...

This is pure greed on the part of these employees. Good for John Brown. This is why we the voters' elected him.

Matt Miles said...

Trolls, If your boss said you were getting a raise, and then he said, nope, sorry not going to happen, what goes through YOUR mind?

Brown has new money now that the Stahl PR contract is over. Pay up and move on.

Anonymous said...

Brown screwed up plain and simple. Time to pay for that mistake. The raise should stay but if it is taken back, Brown will look like an incompetent idiot that he is! Scomillio screwed up and resigned, now it's Brown's turn to MAN UP, not send Kathy in to do his hatchet job.