Secretaries in the Sheriff’s Office have filed a new round of complaints against George David and are attempting to kick one of his most loyal employees out of their union.
County employees belonging to SEIU Local 668 have filed several new complaints with their union once again alleging Sheriff George David is violating provisions of negotiated labor contracts. Clerks in the Sheriff’s Office allege David has made arbitrary hires without posting positions or taking applications and that they are being improperly supervised.
Secretaries have also asked the SEIU to oust part-time secretary Karen Hopkins as a union member. The employees allege duties assigned to Hopkins by Sheriff David amount to administrative functions and she has in effect become a defacto supervisor not eligible for union protections. David gave Hopkins many of the duties previously performed by Lieutenant Thomas Ochs after he was arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police and placed on unpaid administrative suspension.
Karen Hopkins, a resident of Ohio, has been given broad authority over the Sheriff’s Office by David and now oversees everything from the security cameras that monitor courtrooms to purchasing and acquisitions. Hopkins regularly reviews surveillance video, interfaces with vendors for items ranging from uniforms to firearms, and holds meetings with senior courthouse officials including Court Administrator Rich DeFilippi. She previously had control over a system that programs access cards to the courthouse and secured areas within the building, including the judges’ chambers.
Sheriff David began delegating more and more authority to Hopkins (who has given television interviews in support of him and recently hung up “Not Guilty” banners throughout his office) after several of his full-time clerks began coming forward with allegations of corruption, criminal wrongdoing, and other abuses perpetrated by David.
Five full-time secretaries filed written complaints earlier this year alleging they are being harassed, bullied, degraded, and otherwise mistreated by Sheriff George David. Among the allegations made by the secretaries include that Sheriff David has falsely accused them of wrongdoings, unjustly disciplined them, failed to discipline others who have mistreated them, screamed at them in fits of rage, and used degrading and derogatory language to demean them.
In one incident the secretaries say Sheriff David referred to them as “cunts” — in an earlier incident he allegedly said one female Deputy “needs six inches up her ass” to “teach her a lesson.”
The county took no action on the complaints at the time they were filed, hoping that Sheriff David’s criminal trial would end with his removal from office. Now with David being acquitted of all charges, the secretaries say county officials must take action to protect them from further abuse.
Complaints filed by the county employees are now being reviewed by attorneys with the union who are weighing possible actions that can be taken.