Friday, May 25, 2012

What is the plan?

During the May 15 meeting where Fayette County Commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky hired a new chief clerk and public works director, we are told by some folks who were in attendance that something very interesting was said.

Ambrosini and Zapotosky came under fire from citizens -- primarily Jerrie Mazza, Michael Cavanagh and Evelyn Hovanec -- for the hires of reporter Amy Revak for $32,740 as chief clerk and Connellsville Township supervisor Robert Carson as public works director at $40,331 (or $41,000-something, depending on who spins the salary wheel today).

In the face of blistering criticism over one or both of these hires, our sources say that Ambrosini said something to the effect that he and Zapotosky shouldn't be judged just on these two moves. Rather, we're told, Ambrosini intimated -- or said outright -- that he and Zapotosky have a plan on where they want to take the county.

We are paraphrasing here, of course, but the gist of it is Ambrosini reportedly attempted to diffuse the situation by saying that there are more moves to be made, and that people should reserve judgment until all the pieces of the plan are put in place.

Surprisingly, no news reporters have chosen to follow up on this theme. But it is well worth pursuing. If there is a plan, shouldn't Ambrosini and Zapotosky, now armed with media expert Revak, be able to adequately convey it to the public? Doesn't the public of Fayette County, hungry enough for change to dump former Democratic Commissioner Vincent A. Vicites in favor of Ambrosini, deserve to know where Ambrosini and Zapotosky plan to steer this ship for the next three years?

Maybe they intend to use the extra $4 million from this year's 28-percent county real estate tax hike to do something wonderful and bold. But if that's the case, shouldn't they be telling us how? Shouldn't the public be clamoring to know the plan?

Surely for this plan to work, it must involve more than dumping Joseph E. Ferens Jr. as county chief solicitor, naming Westmoreland County attoney Kenneth Burkley as the "interim" solicitor for three to six months, at $4,000 per month. (And there are skeptics who think it is just a matter of time before Burkley is named to the post permanently.)

For the plan to be effective, it must have a better strategy than advertising for a new county clerk using a job description heavy on business and accounting skills, then hiring someone because of their supposed general knowledge of county government and media relations skills.

Does this plan to transform Fayette County include more than hiring a business manager for the Fayette County Prison -- and will that job, too, end up going to someone based on a skill set tthat morphs into something the average person wouldn't ascertain from the advertised job description?

Is granting a three-year contract, at $122,400 a year, to Greensburg's Felice Associates for human resources services -- and then watching the ever-changing starting salaries for the new chief clerk and public works director look like a carnival game of spin-the-wheel -- part of the plan?

We have heard mention elsewhere, in defense of Ambrosini and Zapotosky, that part of the plan is to direct some of this year's extra tax revenue -- a sum that Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said was twice what was needed to be raised -- as local match toward water and sewerage projects in the county, so it can grow and prosper.

If this is part of the plan, Ambrosini and Zapotosky sure haven't done a good job telling everyone about it. That shouldn't be a problem now, with Revak at their side. If they are searching for a way to say, "We intend to roll out an ambitious $2 million water-and-sewerage grant or loan program using county funds," she can surely write up a press release that says, "We intend to roll out an ambitious $2 million water-and-sewerage grant or loan program using county funds."

We have even heard rumors of a new Fayette County Prison being built. But that would definitely eat up any county budget surplus, and then some, and would require another increase in county property taxes. Is this or is it not part of the overall plan?

At the next commissioners' meeting, the people of Fayette County and the press should follow up on Ambrosini's comments. They can't judge whether it is a good or bad plan, or whether they should or should not support it, until they know the details on what it is.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The hardest-working judge is ...

The laudatory editorial by on the legal career of retiring Fayette County Judge Ralph C. Warman should come as no suprise. Warman is, after all, a long-time and long-known pal of editor Mark O'Keefe.

It's also no secret that the two mens' wives have been fast friends for a long time.

While there is nothing wrong with writing an editorial that pays homage to Warman -- who by all accounts has been a pretty good judge -- we found one line in "Big shoes to fill," (, May 20) that was a little over the top.

Here it is:

While some judges have served longer, few, if any, have worked harder than Warman during his 16-year tenure on the Fayette County bench.

There is, of course, no objective basis for making such a claim. Can or has it been documented, for example, that Warman's case load is greater than the other Fayette County judges?

During court week, does he preside over more trials than the other judges?

Has he written more opinions?

Fact is, there has been absolutely no real basis to crown Warman with the title of "hardest-working judge," other than an assessment that probably germinated and then rattled around inside O'Keefe's head.

Chances are pretty good that if you talked to someone who is a close associate -- or pal -- of Judges Gerald Solomon, Steve Leskinen, John F. Wagner Jr. or Nancy D. Vernon, they would probably think that "their" judge was the hardest-working.

The difference is, they do not have the same level of access to the newspaper's pages as O'Keefe. So they cannot broadcast their personal opinion and preferences to a wider audience as fact.

We won't bore you with the details of everything that was said in this particular editorial. If you want to pay to get on the newspaper's website, you can read it for yourself.

Among the things there you will find there is this comment:

There was no such thing as a shortcut or doing something the easy way. To Warman, there was only one way to do things and that was the right way.

That may have been indisputable during Warman's years on the bench, but his 32 years of service included time as Fayette County district attorney and as a prosecutor in that office. And in that capacity, Warman's name is inexorably tied to that of one David Munchinski.

Munchinski is the convicted murderer who was set free last year. We won't go into all those details, but you can read a pretty comprehensive overview here:

"After 25 years in prison in the 'Bear Rocks Murders,' Former Latrobe Man Released Pending Outcome of Appeal," (Innocence Institue of Point Park University, Oct. 6, 2011)

Three paragraphs from that story are as follows:

During questioning at one hearing by (Noah) Geary, Munchinski’s most recent lawyer, the lead prosecutor who is now Fayette County Common Pleas Judge Ralph Warman admitted he removed two paragraphs from the original Bowen police report which stated a tape was made.

Judge Warman said he did it with the approval of District Attorney Gerald Solomon, now President Judge of Fayette County. While he said he removed the paragraphs and cut and pasted the paperwork to disguise his actions because no tape was made, other reports and testimony suggested that critical interview was recorded. The tape has never surfaced.

All of that misconduct became the basis for a visiting judge’s scathing opinion in October 2004, where citing intentional prosecutorial misconduct, he reversed the convictions against Munchinski and ordered the tape of Bowen turned over within 10 days or he would dismiss the case. He also referred the Fayette prosecutors for criminal prosecution. No one has been charged.

The Munchinski case is complicated, convoluted and controversial. But there is no way that anyone can accurately recap Warman's long legal career, as a prosecutor and judge, without at least some mention of it.

Wonder why that wasn't done? Selective memory? Or just not enough space?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five months late and $3,200 short

Blogger Julie Toye has published an interesting and newsworthy take on Fayette County Commission Chairman Vincent Zapotosky's continued and apparent failure to file his last required campaign election expense report.

According to Toye, Zapotosky has accumulated around $3,200 in fines for failing to file the report, which is due to the fact that his campaign is "broke."

And, according to Toye, the state campaign finance reporting law makes no exceptions for those candidates who claim to be "broke."

What amazes us here in the patch is why Toye has done a better job of trying to hold Zapotosky accountable than has

We don't recall former county beat reporter Amy Revak asking Zapotosky for any updates on why he hadn't filed a report that was due in December, 30 days after the November election. (Some might see a correlation between that deriliction of duty and the fact that Revak ended up taking a job as the county's chief clerk, as Zapotosky's favored candidate.)

Does anyone doubt for one minute that if it were Republican Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink who had filed to file her report in a timely fashion, that Revak and woud have been all over that issue? We're guessing there would have been at least a half-dozen stories by now, and perhaps that many damning editorials, raking Zimmerlink over the coals.

Instead, the public has no idea who might have contributed to Zapotosky's campaign in the weeks leading up to last November's election. They have no idea how much money might have flowed into the coffers of a campaign that is now reportedly "broke." The longer this is allowed to go on without Zapotosky making these disclosures, the more we wonder if there is something that someone is trying to hide.

Where is editor Mark O'Keefe in all of this? He had the power to order Revak to do her job. He has the power to order her replacement, whomever that may be, to walk across the street to the Fayette County Election Bureau, corroborate or dispute what Toye is saying, and bring this same information to his readers.

Again, we ask you: If it were Zimmerlink who was five months late in filing a report mandated by state law, had accumulated a $20-per-day fine for not meeting the deadline, and was still tap-dancing around the issue, do you think the newspaper would make no mention of this? We suspect they might have dispatched a platoon of reporters and editors to the election bureau by now.

Since O'Keefe, in the ultimate act of professional lameness, has publicly appealed for someone to let him know what's going on the community, news-wise, here's our step-by-step instructions, so he has no excuses:

1. Send a reporter to the Election Bureau. (Use Mapquest if you don't know the location.)

2. Have this reporter ask Larry Bosser, the bureau director, "Can I see Vince Zapotosky's December expense report?"

3. If Blosser produces it, have the reporter write down who conributed money to Zapotosky's campaign, and how much. (Pay particular attention to any large amounts, or contributions from important or influential people -- just as was done for all other candidates.)

4. If Blosser says the report has yet to be filed, have the reporter ask him, "Does Zapotosky owe any fines for failing to meet the deadline?" And if Blosser says, "Yes," have the reporter ask, "How much in fines?"

5. Inform the public, by having the reporter sit down at a desk, log onto a computer and write a story on his or her findings. (This step would include a phone call to Zapotosky, to get his explanation, and to ask when he intends to file the report and pay the full amount of fines.)

O'Keefe can make this happen today, if he chooses. If he doesn't, he is continuing to provide Zapotosky with a favoritism that no one else has gotten.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And today's starting salary is ...

We are not sure how much the Fayette County commissioners (or at least two of them) are paying Felice Associates of Greensburg for the work done by Dominick Carnicella as the county's director of human resources.

But we are sure that it is either way too much, or not quite enough, based on the ever-changing salaries of the county's two most recent hires.

In a saga that officially dates back to April 17, and includes at least two commission meetings and two salary board meetings, the salary for the new county chief clerk has changed three times, and the salary for the new public works director will apparently change at least once.

For the chief clerk's job, which went to former county government reporter Amy Revak, the starting salary was initially stated as $32,064. Then, with Carnicella in the lead, an attempt was made to raise it to $34,600, a hike of $2,537, based on the budget-related duties of the job.

When public scrutiny over English major Revak's qualifications was applied to the situation, Carnicella stepped up in defense of the hire, saying that the budget-related component of the job was only about 20 percent of its overall duties.

Fair enough. But Carnicella had just gotten done supporting a big increase in the starting salary, on the grounds that the very skills that he ended up downgrading were a key component of the job.

Then, at yesteday's commission meeting, Commissioners Vincent Zapotosky and Al Ambrosini approved a $667 raise for Revak anyway. Here is a paragraph from the Tribune-Review story :

There was a discrepancy in the salaries of Revak and Carson. A $32,063 salary for Revak, previously approved by the salary board, was incorrect, and commissioners revised it to $32,740.

Carson is the new public works director. Carnicella seems to have fumbled the ball on this one, too, based on this paragraph from the aforementioned story:

The salary board approved Carson's salary at $40,331. County Controller Sean Lally said that could change to $41,145, because the salary board did not take into account that Carson will work a 40-hour week, rather than 37 hours.

Carson could end up getting $814 more because of this error.

Shouldn't a competent human resources director know right off the bat whether a job requires 37 or 40 hours of work per week? Isn't it reasonable to think that he or she should find that out and make that clear to decision-makers, such as the county commissioners or the salary board, in the course of 30 days?

Shouldn't the same professional know what the starting salary of the chief clerk should be, based on the duties of the job when the job notice was officially posted? Should it really be changing three times if someone really knows what they are doing?

Instead of inspiring confidence in the process, we are left with the impression that starting salaries in Fayette County are being picked out of someone's hat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Now we know who is the best

Congratulations to columnist Brandon Szuminsky, who accomplished something in his well written column, "Writer has moving experience," (, May 4) that probaby made history.

The column detailed his move from one home to another, and all the accompanying frustrations. But what caught our eye was this line:

Thankfully, we had the best real estate agents in the business on our side (Bill and Betsy West of Northwood -- seriously, call them), and they were able to find us a moving company on short, short, short notice to get our furniture moved.

We had no idea that "the best real estate agents in the business" were those who moved Szuminsky. But we will make sure to take his advice and "call them" if we ever need such services.

But we are wondering how all the other real estate agents feel about this ringing endorsement. Especially the ones that advertise with Especially the ones that may just think, crazy as it seems, that they just might be "the best real estate agents in the business."

Other than one man's assessment based on one move, we really have no empirical evidence that these particular realtors are better than any others, let alone that they are the best at what they do.

Szuminsky accomplished the impossible, getting a big plug in for a private business.

Because of this we can't wait to read the editorial page. Maybe next, we will find out who the best car dealer is, or the best furnace repairman, or the best place to eat out.

Unless someone higher up the food chain decides that this isn't good for business.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The track record on ethics

In the 17 months since Herald-Standard editor Mark O'Keefe took to his soap box and thumped his chest with his December 2010 column, "Ethics issues taken seriously," a lot has happened to demonstrate the opposite.

He's had one reporter who openly worked the polls for a county commission candidate.

He's had another reporter who was just hired as the county's chief clerk, as the favored candidate of Chairman Vincent Zapotosky, a person she was supposed to be objectively covering. (Props to blogger Julie Toye, for providing an interesting perspective on this hire, at )

And he has another reporter who is reportedly dating a prominent source on that reporter's beat -- a source whose name and comments have appeared in stories that the reporter has written for

Nothing personal, but all three of these situations serve to seriously undermine the credibility of the publication that O'Keefe leads. And with each new revelation, his bold claims assuring us about ethics from two years ago ring hollower and hollower.

You can bet that O'Keefe doesn't want to address how reporter number one was able to do a hatchet job on Republican Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink in the week leading up to last November's election, in a story about the Fayette County Conservation District. (That same reporter was the one campaigning for the other Republican candidate.)

Was ethics taken seriously under O'Keefe's watch in that instance?

You can also bet that O'Keefe doesn't want too much scrutiny on reporter number two. But as Toye adeptly points out in her blog post, now it makes sense why that reporter failed to do any basic follow-up when a citizen assailed Zimmerlink at a commission meeting, again just before the election. As we pointed out then, it would have been fairly simple -- and in adherence to ethical journalistic principles -- for that reporter to follow up and prove or disprove that citizen's claims about Zimmerink's use of her work computer. But not a finger was lifted to do basic and fair reporting.

Was ethics taken seriously that time?

And in the case of reporter number three, there are just some things you have to give up when you are a newspaper reporter. Most places, you would not be allowed to date someone that you cover for the news. In those places where you would be permitted, it would mean that you never get to cover anything involving that person. Another reporter would be assigned in those instances.

If O'Keefe was not informed of this situation ahead of time, it certainly wasn't ethical on the reporter's part. If he was informed but allowed the coverage to continue as though nothing needed to change, it definitely was not ethical on O'Keefe's part.

We take no particular joy in pointing these situations out. But each of them stands diametrically opposed to O'Keefe's bold claims of December 2010. We will leave it to you to decide if the track record on ethics under O'Keefe is good or bad.

This sounds familiar ...

Last week, a prisoner escaped the Fayette County Prison by jumping out a window 25 feet above ground. He was quickly apprehended, but in the aftermath of this event, Commission Chairman Vincent Zapotosky took advantage of a public relations opportunity and weighed in.

"This is a great concern, and the other commissioners, along with myself, are taking this very serious," Zapotosky told "Too many bad things could have happened. Thank God, nothing did.

"The commissioners are going to work to ensure that this does not happen again."

That assessment had a familiar ring to it. So we searched the Fayette Patch Hunky archives and found an eerily similar quote from 2011. Here it is:

"I will assure the people of Fayette County there will be accountability. I will work on it and I will find out what went wrong, and we will do everything we can to hopefully prevent future incidents of this kind."

That comment was made in January 2011, after a 15-month-old girl died in Point Marion, in a case where criticism was levied at Fayette County Children and Youth Services. The person who spoke those words? Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky.

Nine months later, in September 2011, CYS came under fire again, after a 4-year-old boy from Springhill Township died. When Zapotosky then said that his solution woud be to seek help from state and federal officials, we pointed out that as a county commissioner, Zapotosky had the power to make changes at CYS, including the hiring of more caseworkers if they were needed.

Although Zapotosky and fellow Commissioner Al Ambrosini raised county property taxes 28 percent this year -- roughly double what Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink supported -- we aren't sure if any addition money for more CYS staff was included in the budget. (We sure would not expect to read some sort of follow-up in the Herald-Standard, either way.)

Some guys over at the fire hall are saying that with Zapotosky again in the vanguard of solving a problem, there is better than a 50-50 chance that another inmate will escape the prison in the near future.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just don't gore my ox

It is a well-known tactic in Fayette County politics to bank on the public's weak memory in order to carry out your agenda. Luckily for you -- but not so luckily for the local politicos -- we here in the patch have good short-term and long-term memory.

Thus we were a bit perplexed last week when Dominick Carnicella, the human relations guru from Felice Associates, proclaimed that Amy Revak, the former reporter, was qualified to be the county's new chief clerk. This was because, Carnicella said, only about 20 percent of the job is budget-related.

Here's where the short-term memory kicks in: Just a couple weeks ago, Commissioners Vincent Zapotosky and Al Ambrosini were angling to get Revak a $2,600 raise in her starting pay -- because the job had such a strong budget-related component.

Perhaps Carnicella said at that time, "Hey, guys, the budget is only 20 percent of the job, so I can't recommend a $2,600 raise." But since that argument never appeared in print, we will have to assume he made no such utterance.

So it appears that the game being played is this: When it is time to angle for a Revak raise, the budget component is a big part of the job. But when you're facing criticism from the public over Revak's hiring and absence of budgeting experience, the budget component suddenly becomes very minor.

Now to long-term memory.

At last week's county salary board meeting, Franklin Township resident Jerrie Mazza questioned Revak's qualifications for the job. Mazza made some very good points, including raising the question on why retired county manager Warren Hughes is needed to teach Revak (will will be paid $32,000 a year) the job to the tune of $50 per day.

To the rescue, predicably, rode Vincent Zapotosky. And what did he say in response to a citizen's criticism? Well, he didn't say that Revak is a numbers whiz who is about to do a boffo job with the budget.

No, here's what Zapotosky said: "For her (Revak) to come under this kind of scrutiny is wrong." ("Resident questions qualifications of Fayette County's new chief clerk,, May 10).

Here in the patch, we were so glad to hear Zapotosky say that having Revak come under this kind of scrutiny is wrong. That is because it gives us the opportunity to remind the world that his current position doesn't quite square with the tune he was singing a couple years ago.

Remember Ruth Thompson, the supposed fake letter to the editor writer who duped Herald-Standard editor Mark O'Keefe? When Revak's "investigation" of the phone number used on that letter led to an unfair and unsubstantiated implication of former Fayette County Housing Authority board member Beverly Beal, how did Zapotosky respond?

He and fellow Commissioner Vincent Vicites, who were robustly criticized in the Thompson letter, held a press conference. At this press conference, they praised the Herald-Standard to high heaven for the "scrutiny" that Revak had supposedly doled out.

No where in the pubic record have we heard of Zapotosky saying back then, "Having her (Beal) come under this kind of scrutiny is wrong."

What's the old saying? --- ah, yes ... something about it depends on whose ox is being gored.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Then what is the other 80 percent?

In today's issue of the Herald-Standard, Franklin Township resident Jerrie Mazza questioned the qualification of former reporter Amy Revak to perform the job of Fayette County chief clerk.

Jennifer Harr, who wrote the story ("Resident questions qualifications of Fayette's new chief county clerk"), included these two paragraphs, which are printed here verbatim. (Please pay attention to the words we've underlined.)

The questions, Mazza said, were only about Revak's qualifications for the position, which does include some work with the county's budget. Revak has a four-year degree in English.

Dominick Carnicella, human resources director through Felice Associates of Greensburg, said that Revak's experience qualified her for the position and noted that about 20 percent of the job is budget-related and those numbers come from the controller's office.

Luckily, we were able to obtain a copy of the job description, as it was posted on the county's website. We leave it up to you, the loyal readers of Fayette Patch Hunky, to digest this and decide if the job, as advertised, includes some work with the counthy's budget, to the tune of about 20 percent.


Position Description Exempt

To perform a variety of complex financial and administrative duties to assist the County Commissioners in the management of the County, its programs and expenses.

1. Develops budget and monitors County expenditures.
2. Assures that the Commissioner's Office adheres to governing laws and regulations.
3. Collects, interprets, analyzes and summarizes information to be used as a basis for the executive actions of the Commissioners.
4. Prepares agendas and makes arrangements for hearings or meetings for the Commissioners.
5. Ensures accurate minutes of public meetings are recorded and maintained.
6. Attest documents, orders and voucher checks issued by the Commissioners.
7. Maintains up-to-date on developments affecting public policy and County government.
8. Studies and analyzes administrative operations and problems, prepares reports of findings and makes recommendations to Commissioners regarding changes, adjustments or other necessary and required information.
9. Reviews correspondence, reports, news sources or publications and informs Commissioners of subsequent developments and/or problems.
10. Communicates with County officials, offices, news media and general public in regard to essential job duties.
11. Acts as a liaison between the Commissioners and elected officials, department heads, other employees and the public.
12. Assists in the management of County programs, and assures that policies, procedures and regulations are adhered to.
13. Supervises staff engaged in clerical/administrative or technical support within the Commissioner's office, as delegated.14. As Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) liaison forward matters of this regard to the Director of Human and Community Services.
15. Administer oaths and affirmations pertaining to the business of the office.
16. Process Right To Know Requests in your role as the Right To Know Officer.

1. Represents the County at meetings, seminars, etc. as required.
2. Performs special assignments as received from the Commissioners.3. Attends meetings, hearings, training, etc. as required.
4. Serves on various committees as needed.
5. Performs other job-related duties as required.


Receives some instruction and supervision from Commissioners in regard to daily work duties.

Supervises staff as delegated by Commissioners.

1. Works indoors in adequate work space, temperatures, ventilation and lighting.
2. Works with average indoor exposure to noise and stress, but subject to frequent disruptions.
3. Normal indoor exposure to dust/dirt.

1. Must possess ability to record, convey and present information, explain procedures and follow instructions.
2. Must be able to sit for long periods throughout the workday, with occasional walking, standing, twisting, bending, reaching and driving as necessary to carry out essential job duties.
3. Dexterity requirements range from coordinated movements of fingers/hands to simple movements of feet/legs/torso as necessary to carry out work duties.
4. Sedentary work, with occasional lifting/carrying of objects with maximum weight of ten pounds.
5. Must be able to cope with the physical and mental stress of the position.
6. Must be able to pay close attention to details and concentrate on work.

To do this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position. The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

Bachelor's degree, preferably in Accounting, Public Administration, Business and/or related field.

At least 4 years experience in Accounting, Public Administration, Business and/or
any equivalent combination of experience, education and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

1. Must be able to speak and understand the English language in an understandable manner in order to carry out essential job duties.
2. Must possess ability to prepare annual budget for department and control expenditures accordingly.
3. Must possess initiative and problem solving skills.

4. Must possess ability to function independently, have flexibility and the ability to work effectively with staff, government officials, general public and others.
5. Must possess ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with employees, consultants, other governmental agency representatives, municipal officials and the general public.
6. Must possess ability to maintain confidentiality in regard to County information and records.
7. Must possess ability to make independent decisions when circumstances warrant such action.
8. Must possess ability to learn of principles and practices of county administration, programs and policies and the ability to ensure that these are carried out within the County programs.
9. Must possess ability to develop and implement administration policies and procedures, and to evaluate same for efficiency and effectiveness.
10. Must possess a willingness to travel as necessary to carry out essential job duties.
12. Must possess ability to analyze and make thorough recommendations to County Commissioners.
13. Must possess ability to exercise good judgment and discretion in serving as the Commissioners' representative.




________________________________ ____________________

Signature of Employee Date

________________________________ _____________________

Signature of Supervisor Date


In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Employer will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities and encourages both prospective employees and incumbents to discuss potential accommodations with the Employer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Give Pritchard some credit

Here in the patch, we are howling with delight that even a resident political gadfly like Ted Pritchard sees and acknowledges what will not: That there is absolutely nothing in the work experience of former HS reporter Amy Revak to even remotely suggest she is qualified to manage the Fayette County budget as chief clerk.

Pritchard has filed court papers seeking judicial action to block Revak from starting her new job on Monday. According to Jennifer Harr's May 8 story "Lawsuit opposes Fayette hiring," Pritchard alleges that Revak does not possess the qualifications to develop the county budget and monitor expenditures, which are part of the job.

While we doubt that Pritchard's legal maneuver will put a halt to Revak's hiring, his willingness to at least try to raise questions about the situation puts and editor Mark O'Keefe to shame.

Anyone with an iota of insight knows that Revak's biggest qualification for this job was her friendship with Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky. Everyone who read the job description as posted on the county website knows that there was a lot of discrepancy between the skills being sought (accounting, budgeting, finance) and those used to justify the hiring of Revak (English degree, familiarity with the media and open records requests).

If county commissioners Zapotosky and fellow Democrat Al Ambrosini wanted to hire a press secretary or media relations person, shouldn't they have openly advertised the position as such? That would have clued in other people who possess that skill set that this was a job they might be interested in, or have a chance to get. Even if media skills are what matters in the job, there are much better people to get than Revak.

Yet remains strangely silent on this matter. Harr's story recites that Ambrosini and Zapotosky voted for Revak. It also notes that Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink made a motion for a different candidate, but that motion failed for lack of a second.

What the story doesn't note is that the candidate favored by Zimmerlink holds a master's degree in business administration. That's just a few words, but they are important to any fair presentation of this controversy -- and curiously, they were omitted from the story. Why? It isn't as though Zimmerlink was seeking to hire someone who worked at a flower shop, or had last worked as a greeter at Wal-Mart. She wanted someone who actually had a business degree. An advanced business degree.

Using the hiring standard employed by Zapotosky and Ambrosini, anyone who voted for them should immediately call up and ask about gaining employment for themselves or their friends or their relatives.

Using the Revak Standard, the qualifications for any county job, it appears, will be skewed and minimal:

"I have a driver's license. Can I be in charge of Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation?"

"I got three kids. Let me head up Children and Youth Services."

"I just served on jury duty. I learned a lot, so I would like to replace retiring Judge Ralph Warman."

"Man, I'm certifiably crazy. Can I run MH/MR?"

"I have voted in every election for the past 20 years. I would like to run the Fayette County Election Bureau."

The job of chief clerk is a taxpayer funded position, and one that, on paper at least, seems to be viewed as important to the overall operation of Fayette County government. O'Keefe has an editorial platform that he hasn't hesitated to use in the past to influence public opinion.

Why isn't he using it now, either way? He can tell us why Ambrosini's and Zapotosky's hiring of Revak was a good move, or why it was a bad one. He can tell us why Zimmerlink's preference for a candidate with an MBA was a good move, or a bad one.

But the worst thing he can do is what he's done so far: Say nothing.

P.S. -- We found another letter in our email for the "On the Mark" video feature:

Dear Mark:

Is it ethical for a reporter to date someone on the beat that they cover, and to still be doing stories for the paper that involve that person?

Sign me,

Isn't That Supposed to be a No-No?