County Layoffs On Hold After Union And Veterans’ Groups Object

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County Commissioners have delayed for at least a week a series of layoffs which would have affected the county’s Veterans Affairs Office. The move comes after representatives of a veterans’ group spoke out at a special public meeting of the Commissioners, and after the union representing affected workers began filing grievances.

As the Beaver Countian first reported last week, several county employees were facing layoffs due to bumping that was to occur as a result of Beaver County losing local control over CCIS (Child Care Information Services). The seniority-based bumping that was to take place sparked controversy, after officials say Treasurer Connie Javens invoked a seldom used statute under Pennsylvania County Code, and refused to allow the bumps to occur in her office. Javens denied ever being told about the situation. Since that report, updated seniority lists now show two employees from the Treasurer’s Office and two from the Recorder of Deeds’ Office are lowest in seniority and would face being bumped.

With the row offices out of the picture, the county was prepared to lay off two of the three employees in the Veterans Affairs Office, replacing them with displaced employees from CCIS. At last Thursday’s Commissioners’ meeting, representatives of the Vietnam Veterans of America spoke out on their behalf.

“These two employees have gotten more funds for veterans in Beaver County than any other county in the State of Pennsylvania,” said PA VVA Executive Vice President Skip Haswell, “and that says something.”

“We’re number two among forth class counties with the number of veterans,” said PA VVA Legislative Chair Bart Farzati. He told Commissioners that positions in the VA’s Office required extensive training, and it would already be too late to send any employees who bumped into the office to the next class. “It’s already too late to get them training in Harrisburg this October.”

Haswell noted the importance of having well training employees working in the office. “With any mistakes made, [a veteran] has to appeal, and that can take 2 years, and there they are without benefits. We don’t have that problem now, we have the training, the knowledge. We ask that it continue that way, but it won’t if we’re going backwards.”

“I don’t know if we’re going to achieve anything, but we are at least going to try,” responded Commissioner Tony Amadio.

“Unfortunately, I understand this issue very well, and the training that is required” said Commissioner Joe Spanik. “[Pennsylvania County Code] 1620 put a hold on us,” he later added.

While they were originally notified that last Friday would be their final day, courthouse sources say affected employees have been told to report to work tomorrow. Commissioners have been meeting with union representatives and elected row officers in an effort to find a compromise solution.

Commissioners Amadio and Spanik did not return a message seeking comment about the progress of those negotiations. Commissioner Dennis Nichols is away on vacation.

 

7 comments

  1. Skip Haswell is correct! Our Veterans deserve the very best representatives they can get to assist them in working through the red tape of the Veteran’s benefits process. It is difficult enough to get benefit requests approved without putting uninformed and untrained individuals in these positions. Our service men and women deserve better than this!

    • Shouldn’t you be asking WHY is there so much RED TAPE these veterans have to go through just to get what is deserved to them? ” Liberals create the exact OPPOSITE of their stated intent” ALWAYS! What until 2014 hits with the biggest debacle yet. Obama Care. The AFFORDABLE Health Care Act?!
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  2. Cyndi McClain, you are so right!! Our Veterans do deserve the very best and the staff they have in the Veterans Office now are highly skilled, qualified and trained in this field. My question is why was the Veterans Office targeted, when there are offices like the Assessment Office, Prothonotary’s Office, Bureau of Elections, just to name a few, that have staff with less seniority than the Veterans Office? We see such waste in some of these offices, and yet they are targeting an office that help our honorable Veterans. And you’re right again Cyndi, our service men and women most DEFINITELY deserve better than this!!!!! I hope Skip Haswell will be able to help with this situation.

  3. Keep in mind that the reason that Beaver County lost the local control of CCIS is because the CCIS ED & the County Commissioners FAILED to bid on having the regional office in Beaver County. It went to Washington County only because Beaver County didn’t apply for it! Now all the people who use CCIS will have to deal with Washington County.

  4. Looks like the big old union put a little scare in the old battle ax , and she is finally going to back down now that spanik won’t stand behind her and threw her under the bus. Not so tough now are you Mrs. Javens. YEA THATS WHAT WE THOUGHT. :smile: : :cry: :smirk: :stupid:

  5. I say skip haswell should of ran 8 years ago for commissioner, not just on veterans issues either I feel he would nee tremendous for the county and is a fair no nonsense person, dint know if he could raise enough but he would have a lot of support and great name awareness

  6. Bottom line is that both the administrators and union should be able to see that this move is bad for all and do what is best. If something this plain and simple can’t be rectified by supposed leaders, then how are we supposed to trust them to do anything?

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