Kevin Booth says he took action because of time constraints

Last updated: August 09. 2014 11:03PM - 2509 Views
By - mguydish@civitasmedia.com



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YATESVILLE — Who posted the opening for a Pittston Area maintenance supervisor position without the superintendent’s knowledge?


District Principal and Human Resource Manager Kevin Booth said he did, and explained how and why the move, which has prompted repeated queries from the union president, was done.


Support Staff Union President Tom Rome raised questions about the posting at Tuesday’s meeting, contending Superintendent Michael Garzella had said he was not at the office and did not know about the posting. After the meeting, Garzella confirmed both facts, but added that he “had no problem with the posting.”


Also after the meeting, Board President Anthony Guariglia flatly denied allegations by Rome that he or any other board member had ordered the posting, and suggested asking Booth.


Reached Friday morning, Booth said it was his decision to post for the job while Garzella was absent, but that it sprang from a stream of discussions with Garzella and others about ways to trim the administration payroll. Booth said posting the position in Garzella’s absence was a question of limited time to complete those changes.


Four people in the administration office retired, Booth said, and the district decided to move four others who were in the support staff union into those administrative posts, without replacing the union positions.


“We’ve been trying through attrition to shrink our staff,” he said.


The people who retired were at high end of the salary scale at about $50,000, Booth estimated. “We took some of the current staff who were making half of that and moved them over, giving them a slight bump in pay.”


Along with all that reshuffling, the district also dealt with the retirement of the transportation director. Booth said the original plan was to give the duties to James “Red” O’Brien. The board sparked public controversy when it hired the politically connected O’Brien as “warehouse supervisor.”


Booth said O’Brien had also taken on the responsibilities of maintenance supervisor, and that the district decided adding transportation to that load was too much. So the job of maintenance supervisor was made separate and posted.


Booth said the posting was done June 26 despite Garzella’s absence because it had to be posted for 10 days before the board could hire anyone. Coupled with time for interviews and the selection process, that left little time to pick a candidate at the July 15 meeting.


The board gave the job to Pittston Councilman Kenneth Bangs, effectively promoting him from his current union job to an administrative job.


Booth echoed Guariglia’s comment regarding Garzella’s absence. Both said Garzella returned and had plenty of time before the hiring to see the posting and voice any concerns.


Booth also said the various changes are saving the district substantial money because so many positions have been permanently cut.


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