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Thread: Wrongfull DEMOTION? Pennsylvania

  1. #1
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    Default Wrongfull DEMOTION? Pennsylvania

    Currently am zoning officer and secretary of a township. Hired in 2012

    Within two weeks of being hired, found ethics violations on one of three supervisors. Reported him to the PA State Ethics Board. He paid fines but is still a supervisor. That is the story behind supervisor #1.

    Township lawyer said enforce the zoning ordinance to the letter of the law. A LOT to do for a one man show who is also the township secretary (and the only office employee). Recently began cleaning up illegal signs in the township and enforcing the requirement that ALL development requires a permit.

    Now, they want to strip me of my zoning officer job and relegate me to "just" a secretary. So what is wrong with that? Read on.

    One other supervisor has about 6 illegal signs. (Haven't enforced that yet but am working my way to there.) However, I have sent out notice of violations to many of the local business men and they are up in arms. THAT is to be expected. It is my opinion this supervisor may want me removed as zoning officer to placate his friends but, more importantly, to avoid zoning enforcement against himself. That finishes supervisor #2

    Last supervisor has a gas well on his property. I've made the gas drilling companies get permits. I wonder if this last supervisors wants to get rid of me to keep money flowing into this pocket. So as I see it, there you may have the story on supervisor #3.

    This past township meeting, just two days ago, ALL THREE voted to advertise for a new zoning officer. Now, while it is not a labor issue, they seem to have already determined to replace me BEFORE the public meeting where, by the way, there was no public discussion on the matter. That may very well be a violation of Pennsylvania's Sun Shine law about meeting being held outside a public meeting.

    The good old boys are up in arms.

    Do labor laws protect me?

  2. #2
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    Sorry but they do not. If they do not want someone to forcefully enforce the laws they make, that is their prerogative. You admit the job is a lot for one person. It is entirely reasonable that they realize this and are remedying the situation. There may be some rules in your municipality or under a union agreement which govern how this should be handled but those rules are not going to go so far as to restrict them from hiring additional staff to ease your burden nor guarantee you get to keep only the duties you want.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  3. #3
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    Hmmm. I thought PA had a whistleblower law for situs like this...?
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
    Don't worry, be happy.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

  4. #4
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    This isn't whistleblower as it is his job to do this.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm. I was thinking it would be since he busted his supers for violations and is suffering the consequences.
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
    Don't worry, be happy.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

  6. #6
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    Small town politics.....got to love it....It's hard to tell what positions your supervisors hold in reference to the town attorney. From what I know of our town, the secretary/zoning duties work for the town council as does the attorney. Are your supervisors the town council?

    It's unclear if the attorney has the authority to direct you or whether it is your supervisors. It sounds like the supers control your job position and duties though. They can vote to hire another person and split the duties. But I suspect the town attorney will tell the new person the same thing. It sounds like you got caught between the two sides of the issues. Nothing illegal about that and honestly nothing new in town councils! I would think if the town attorney thought moving you to secretary only was illegal that he would bring it to their attention since he wants to follow the letter of the law. It could be argued that the supervisors want to remove you from that position because the things you have done have caused strife in the community (which you admit to) rather than how it just personally might affect them. You have lots of wondering and supposition, but truly only have a real reason that has already happened from super #1 and it's hard to tell how long it was from that point until now and whether the ethics violation had anything to do with zoning issues. If you work for the council, it is probably smart to clear your zoning actions by them prior to carrying them out and make sure they approve of the actions and have them clarify directly with the town attorney if they have issues.

    I don't see any labor laws that protect you unfortunately. You might give a bit more of a timeline to us to see if there might be a more direct link to complaining on #1 and the job duty changes.

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