The stakes in legal case between the Commissioners and Lycoming County Controller just went up

Photo: Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger, Tony Mussare, Administrative Manager Lycoming County Commissioners, Eileen Ebner and Lycoming County Controller, Krista Rogers.

By: Todd Bartley

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

On April 26, 2021, the Lycoming County Commissioners filed a “Motion for Contempt” against Lycoming County Controller Krista Rogers.

The motion seeks; two reassigned employees to relocate to Office of Budget & Finance, cease and desist from performing payroll, accounts payable and general ledger functions through the Controller’s office and transfer those functions to the Office of Budget & Finance.

It also seeks attorney fees and costs from the Controller.

Senior Judge John B. Leete from Potter County will hear from the parties on Wednesday at 1 p.m. in a Lycoming County courtroom.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

 

PREVIOUS REPORTING
Lycoming County Commissioners taking unilateral action this morning
Caught in the Middle
Commissioners issue press release in response to TalkWilliamsport.com reporting
Was the injunction filed by the Lycoming County Commissioners against the Lycoming County Controller even necessary?

Was the injunction filed by the Lycoming County Commissioners against the Lycoming County Controller even necessary?

Photo: Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger, Tony Mussare, Administrative Manager Lycoming County Commissioners, Eileen Ebner and Lycoming County Controller, Krista Rogers.
By: Todd Bartley
News@TalkWilliamsport.com
If the duly elected Controller of Lycoming County performed the necessary functions to facilitate payment of accounts payable and payroll earlier this week and by not doing so (under the law) could lead to her removal from office; why was an injunction even necessary?
The background of the story stems from a long running battle over the financial operations of Lycoming County and who is ultimately responsible.
As the court filings indicate; Krista Rogers, Lycoming County Controller believes she has the authority.
Conversely, the Lycoming County Commissioners also believe they have the “ultimate responsibility” over the operations and finances of Lycoming County.
So on April 20, 2021, the Lycoming County Commissioners filed a civil lawsuit against Lycoming County Controller Krista Rogers over fiscal operations of the County.
Under the banner of “ultimate responsibility” the Lycoming County Commissioners filed an LCC TRO motion against Controller with the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas citing the “threat” Rogers in her capacity as Controller would remove her “ceremonial signature” thus kicking off a cascade of events potentially leading to bills and payroll not being paid.
That scenario has not occurred.
By the standard the Lycoming County Commissioners have outlined, at any point in time they could potentially seize control of any other duly elected Lycoming County official’s department under the “ultimate responsibility” banner and potentially set off a cascade of litigation, all at taxpayers expense.
An example, would be the Office of Prothonotary; if the Lycoming County Commissioners believed the functions and responsibilities of that office were not being performed to their satisfaction; under the “ultimate responsibility” banner, changes could take place in that department as well.

In fact, what has occurred since the filing of the injunction and lawsuit which will have a hearing in front of visiting

Senior Judge John B. Leete from Potter County next Wednesday at 1 p.m. is a public war of words between the parties involved.
In response to the actions taken by the Lycoming County Commissioners, on April 20, 2021 at 2 p.m. – Lycoming County Controller Krista Rogers issued the following statement:
“In response to the action taken today by the Lycoming County Commissioners. Their statements are gross misrepresentations of the facts. This is not about training or alleged mistakes they claim were made, it is an abuse of office and has been a conspiracy to subvert the law since December of 2019. They have been trying to figure out how to take these duties, and positions, away from me since December 2019 when they started paying their solicitor, again, on this issue after they decided to follow the law in May of 2019. What they are doing goes against PA State law, and is the biggest waste of Lycoming County taxpayer dollars. I have tried to talk to them about training and working together under the law now I will have to wait and see what their filing says.
Just this week my office has corrected two errors where employees would have been paid out more than would have been proper, according to policy, based on improper information given to employees by the HR department and the Commissioners’ office.
I have, and will always, stand up and fight for the taxpayers of Lycoming County to make sure the Commissioners do not create a shadow government where they can spend money with no checks and balances.
Krista B. Rogers, Lycoming County Controller”
That same day the Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger and Tony Mussare issued a press release in response to TalkWilliamsport.com reporting which reads as follows:

“We offer these thoughts in response to the Controller’s attempt to politicize our recent personnel actions. As Commissioners, we have dedicated ourselves to providing efficient and effective government functions to the taxpayers of this County. That was our sole motivation for transferring a few employees and their related functions back to the County’s fiscal department (now called the Office of Budget and Finance), where they were capably handled for years.

It is an unfortunate reality that these functions were and are not being performed timely or competently under the Controller’s supervision. In fact, repeated errors in basic things such as processing payroll and continued failures to produce reports and year-end entries on time evidenced this poor performance.

Two years ago, the Controller argued that the now transferred functions should be placed under her jurisdiction. The Commissioners agreed to do so with the expectation that the transfer would be seamless and have no effect on County government and County taxpayers. Plainly put, that expectation has not been fulfilled, despite the two years the Controller has had to absorb the functions and debug any problems.

And so it has become apparent to the Commissioners that they need to transfer, at least for now, these functions back to where they were capably handled for many years, to protect the County, its employees, and its citizens. The Controller claims that this action is illegal, but the Commissioners believe otherwise. While the courts may need to resolve that contest, what is beyond dispute is this — the transferred functions that were not competently handled by the Controller will now be done well and timely.”

On April 22, 2021, the Lycoming County Controller’s Office posted the following to its Facebook page:
“The office has completed payroll for Lycoming County Employees, and accounts payable for this week. The accounts payable, approved by Commissioners on Tuesday, was reduced by $46,651.92 due to a corrective action taken by Human Resources on the PA Unemployment Compensation invoices originally submitted for payment. Original PA Unemployment Compensation invoice total, $111,110, amount being paid $64,458.08.
All processing was completed for both payroll and accounts payable before noon today.”
One of the grievances listed by Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger and Tony Mussare in the court filings was Krista B. Rogers, Lycoming County Controller failed to file the 2019 Lycoming County Annual Fiancial Report with the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
In fact, as the (exclusively obtained by TalkWilliamsport.com) 2019 Lycoming County Annual Financial Report reflects on its cover page; it was time stamped as received by DCED on April 19, 2021, the day prior to the filing of the injunctive relief and lawsuit against the Lycoming County Controller.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated 4:55 p.m. Friday, April 23, 2021 with DCED confirmations.
When reached Friday by TalkWilliamsport.com, Casey Smith, DCED Communications Director, provided the following; “The 2019 Lycoming County Audit was received on 4-19-21.  The 2019 audits were due July 1, 2020. The 2020 audits are due July 1, 2021.”
If the financial operations of Lycoming County have gone uninterrupted and may in fact be more streamlined within the Office of Lycoming County Controller Krista Rogers even with having multiple employees moved to the Office of Budget and Finance this week, only one question remains.
Was the injunction and subsequent lawsuit filed by the Lycoming County Commissioners against the Lycoming County Controller even necessary?
PREVIOUS REPORTING
Lycoming County Commissioners taking unilateral action this morning
Caught in the Middle
Commissioners issue press release in response to TalkWilliamsport.com reporting

Senator Yaw Encourages Participation in “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day”

Photo Courtesy PCN

20th “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” to be held on Saturday, April 24th

 HARRISBURG – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) today announced that the 20th Semi-Annual “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will be held on Saturday, April 24th, 2021, from 10AM-2PM.

Residents living throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties are encouraged to participate in the pharmaceutical “spring cleaning” by taking back expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Safe disposal drop-off locations are located in every county and can be found by going to the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs website, click here.

“National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” events continue to remove expired and unused opioids and other medicines from Pennsylvania homes.  During the October 2020 Take-Back Day event, 189 Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies collected 36,949 pounds of unused or expired medications from 209 collection sites across the state.  Since the inception of the program on September 25th, 2010, over 597,120 pounds of medications have been returned and destroyed in Pennsylvania.

“Take-Back Day is an excellent way to reduce drug abuse and misuse across the board,” Sen. Yaw said.  “It’s not only about preventing people from stealing or abusing prescription drugs, but it’s also about preventing accidental use and overdose, especially by our senior population.  Further, many people are unsure on how to properly dispose of the medications, so they flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.  This can lead to the medications entering into our water supply, which is a huge environmental concern.”

In 2014, Senator Yaw supported Senate Bill 1180, now Act 191, creating a statewide prescription drug monitoring program in the Commonwealth to expand upon the types of drugs already monitored and increase access for pharmacists and health care practitioners with prescriptive rights.  Since that time, he has championed several legislative initiatives, which are now law, including expanded education requirements for prescribers and limiting opioids for minors.

Learn more about “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” at www.deatakeback.com, or by calling 800-882-9539.

For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.

Congressman Fred Keller, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise outline energy priorities during Think About Energy webinar

Whip Scalise and Congressman Keller discuss energy priorities during the Think About Energy webinar.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) today joined House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for a webinar hosted by Cabot Oil & Gas to discuss current and proposed energy policies and weigh in on America’s domestic energy sector.

Whip Scalise opened the event with remarks highlighting House Republicans’ energy priorities, noting the importance of an all-of-the-above American energy approach and of harnessing our nation’s resources to produce clean, affordable, and reliable energy.

Congressman Keller followed up with insights on the positive impact that American energy independence has had on central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Thanks to domestic energy, Pennsylvania’s statewide energy sector now sustains more than 300,000 jobs, pays more than $23 billion in wages, contributes $45 billion to the commonwealth’s economy, and saves the average household $1,100 annually in energy costs.

On the event, Congressman Keller made the following statement:

“I was proud to join Whip Scalise today for a productive, energy-focused webinar hosted by Cabot Oil & Gas. America’s domestic energy has far-reaching implications for every sector of our economy. Energy producers have been outstanding partners in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, investing in local communities and generating countless downstream job opportunities. In order to sustain good-paying jobs, create prosperity for future generations, and secure American interests around the globe, we must reject and counteract policies that place a higher premium on appeasing the radical left than protecting the future of America’s energy sector.”

Republican Whip Steve Scalise:

“It was a pleasure to join Cabot Oil & Gas for today’s ‘Think About Energy’ webinar alongside Representative Keller. Our two districts demonstrate how an all-of-the-above American energy strategy has propelled our nation to be energy dominant and allowed our economy to thrive. The truth is that the Democrats don’t want to see the hardworking men and women of the Gulf and Marcellus Shale oil and gas industry succeed. Their socialist green agenda will leave American families and workers hurting and our country dependent on unreliable and unfriendly nations for energy. Instead of attempting to end American oil and natural gas production, we should embrace and utilize our abundant, affordable, and clean energy resources.”

 

George Stark, Director of External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation and moderator of the webinar:

“The state of Pennsylvania, as well as our nation as a whole, has an abundance of natural resources. This abundance gives us plenty to discuss, and it’s important to bring energy advocates and policy makers together to further the industry.” 

Whip Scalise is the leader of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), of which Congressman Keller is also a member. HEAT is a coalition of House Republicans representing districts with significant energy infrastructure. Its mission is to promote energy policies that will address rising energy prices, create family-sustaining energy jobs, and enhance our national security by promoting American energy independence.

The full webinar is available here.

Area Legislators Secure Funding for Lycoming County Projects

Photo Courtesy PCN

HARRISBURG – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-83) and Rep. Joe Hamm (R-84) today announced several significant investments for Lycoming County through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

“I was pleased to advocate for all of these projects approved today by the CFA,” Sen. Yaw said.  “Our legislative advocacy is strong and we are fortunate to have many good local officials who are forward thinking in planning these projects, cleaning up our environment and promoting economic growth for our region.  These investments have a positive impact for all residents.”

Jersey Shore Borough will be awarded two grants through the CFA.  The Borough will receive $78,002 through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation program to implement the Jersey Shore Active Transportation Plan.  The plan will connect the existing DCNR funded rail trail to the Susquehanna River.  This phase includes a trail connector to Allegheny Street, enhanced sidewalks, and curb ramps.  Additionally, the Borough will receive $150,000 through the CFA Multimodal Transportation Fund to assist with a streetscape project.  The proposed project will help accomplish phase one of the plan by enhancing the sidewalks, bump outs, signage, crosswalks and curb ramps along Bank Alley & South Main Street, Fountain Street and Allegheny Street, and Staver and Allegheny Street.

“I want to thank the Commonwealth Financing Authority for awarding this grant to Jersey Shore Borough for accessibility and safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Rep. Hamm. “As the former Jersey Shore Borough Manager, I was proud to support this project during the planning stages and now during its implementation as State Representative. Outdoor recreation opportunities are important and Jersey Shore and the Pine Creek Valley provide a world-class experience.”

“The Borough of Jersey Shore would like to thank Senator Yaw and Representative Hamm for their support of the Jersey Shore Active Transportation Plan,” said Cody L. Hoover, Borough Manager.  “We look forward to using the funds to improve the Borough and create more growth and economic development opportunities.”

In the City of Williamsport, the Economic and Community Growth Corporation has been awarded $200,000 as part of a transition of a blighted brownfield property into a multi-field, regional baseball and softball complex.  The project consists of excavation of the brownfield, construction of the site into a multi-field sports complex.  The site will be home to six fields for youth baseball and softball, and one collegiate-sized field.  Funding has also been committed through the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

“This multi-million-dollar development project will create new opportunities for the Greater Williamsport region to draw upon its world-renowned status as a home for youth baseball and attract thousands of new visitors,” Rep. Wheeland said.  “Given the potential impact this project could have on our community, I was happy to support this important project.”

Lycoming County will also receive a grant of $287,379 through the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) to extend a natural gas pipeline to serve a prospective manufacturing company in the Timber Run Industrial Park, located in Brady Township.  The extension will provide access to natural gas for future companies locating in the Park, which is viewed as a critical economic development opportunity in the area.

“Economic development is one of my top priorities as State Representative,” Rep. Hamm added. “I am pleased the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved PIPE funding for Lycoming County’s Timber Run Industrial Park. Establishing low-cost natural gas service to this site will allow manufacturers and future developers to bring high-quality, family-sustaining jobs to the area. I was honored to support this project.”

“We greatly appreciate the work of Senator Yaw and Representatives Wheeland and Hamm in securing funding for these projects here in Lycoming County,” said Jason Fink, President and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.  “Jersey Shore is a gateway to the Pine Creek Valley and Pennsylvania Wilds.  This investment will enhance the community for not only residents but visitors enjoying the outdoor amenities of the area.  Funding for the Timber Run Industrial Park is key to providing the necessary utilities for industries that will be developing in it.  One key resource required for Digger Specialties operations there was natural gas and now Lycoming County has the funding to get the service to them.  Our ballpark project will transform a highly visible blighted brownfield property here in the city to a heavily used baseball/softball complex that will serve local needs and sports tourists alike.  The collective work of our state legislative delegation will have great impact on Lycoming County in the years to come.”

AG Shapiro Statement on Senate Judiciary’s Vote To Pass Civil Window Statute

Please see Attorney General Shapiro’s statement regarding the passage of the civil window statute by the Pennsylvania Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

“We cannot overlook the significance of today’s passage of the civil window statute by the Pennsylvania Senate’s Judiciary Committee, and I want to thank Senators Baker, Corman and Santarsiero for their leadership. I commend our state senators for voting this bill out of committee, but now it is time to bring this vote to the Senate floor,” said AG Shapiro. “Two years ago, we heard the voices of brave survivors across the Commonwealth who suffered abuse at the hands of priests within the Catholic Church. Their righteous voices impacted change – three of the four Grand Jury reforms recommended are now law in Pennsylvania, 20 states have also passed our reforms, and 14 states began their own investigations into clergy abuse, as well as the Department of Justice. Today’s vote brings these brave survivors the closest they have been to having their day in court. Now it’s time to deliver justice and closure for those who spoke up, relived their trauma, and bolstered the system for future victims.” 

Congressman Keller introduces bill to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines to American citizens and legal residents of the U.S.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) today introduced the Saving Hypodermic injections and Offering vaccines to Taxpayers Swiftly (SHOTS) Act with original co-sponsors Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-16) and Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC-01).

Starting today, all adults in the United States are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. In this eligibility, the Biden administration is welcoming illegal aliens to receive shots, per a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in February, which would delay Americans and other taxpayers from accessing the vaccine.

As the crisis at the southern border continues to worsen, the SHOTS Act would instruct DHS to ensure that American citizens and lawful permanent residents are given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine over those visiting or who have entered the United States illegally.

Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA):

“While I’m glad that more Americans are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I am troubled that the Biden administration is giving taxpayer-funded vaccines to illegal aliens. While preventing community spread remains a priority, the current guidance for COVID-19 vaccines only serves to further incentivize individuals to break the law and enter the United States illegally, compounding the crisis at the southern border which the Biden administration has yet to address. Americans have invested trillions in COVID-19 relief, which includes funds for vaccine development, distribution, and administration. I am proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that America’s COVID-19 vaccines are going into the arms of American taxpayers first.”

Background:

Last week, Congressman Keller joined Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01), Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM-02), and six other Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a trip to the southern border to see first-hand the crisis currently unfolding and understand how it is impacting our nation.

Members of the National Border Patrol Council informed the delegation that an estimated 60,000 individuals have illegally entered the United States and evaded capture in the last two months.

According to DHS, in March of 2021:

  • CBP encountered over 172,000 illegal immigrants at the southwest border, the highest monthly total in 15 years and an increase of 400% compared to March 2020.
  • CBP encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied alien children (UACs), an increase of 486% compared to March 2020.
  • CBP encountered more than 53,000 family units at the southwest border, an increase of 1056% compared to March 2020.

Full text of this legislation is attached.

 

Right to Know Law appeals filed after WASD records denials

By: Todd Bartley

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

TalkWilliamsport.com filed Right to Know Law appeals with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records after the Williamsport Area School District again denied and redacted records related to the 2018 “criminal sexual misconduct” incident in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina during the WAHS baseball team trip.

ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 was recently charged in the case by South Carolina law enforcement authorities.

In one instance, the WASD provided a “room assignment” email that had been requested three years ago. The WASD Open Records Officer Wanda Erb claimed on multiple occasions “no records exist.”

Five appeals were filed and a sixth appeal is forthcoming seeking the full release of clearly public records in possession of the Williamsport Area School District.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

Commissioners issue press release in response to TalkWilliamsport.com reporting

Photo: Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger, Tony Mussare, Administrative Manager Lycoming County Commissioners, Eileen Ebner and Lycoming County Controller, Krista Rogers.

By: Todd Bartley

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

On Thursday, the Lycoming County Commissioners issued a press release titled “Transfer of Financial Functions”.

It was released in response to “Caught in the Middle” an in-depth report by TalkWilliamsport.com.

The press release from Lycoming County Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger and Tony Mussare reads as follows:

“We offer these thoughts in response to the Controller’s attempt to politicize our recent personnel actions. As Commissioners, we have dedicated ourselves to providing efficient and effective government functions to the taxpayers of this County. That was our sole motivation for transferring a few employees and their related functions back to the County’s fiscal department (now called the Office of Budget and Finance), where they were capably handled for years.

It is an unfortunate reality that these functions were and are not being performed timely or competently under the Controller’s supervision. In fact, repeated errors in basic things such as processing payroll and continued failures to produce reports and year-end entries on time evidenced this poor performance.

Two years ago, the Controller argued that the now transferred functions should be placed under her jurisdiction. The Commissioners agreed to do so with the expectation that the transfer would be seamless and have no effect on County government and County taxpayers. Plainly put, that expectation has not been fulfilled, despite the two years the Controller has had to absorb the functions and debug any problems.

And so it has become apparent to the Commissioners that they need to transfer, at least for now, these functions back to where they were capably handled for many years, to protect the County, its employees, and its citizens. The Controller claims that this action is illegal, but the Commissioners believe otherwise. While the courts may need to resolve that contest, what is beyond dispute is this — the transferred functions that were not competently handled by the Controller will now be done well and timely.”

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

Helm federal lawsuit alleges Jason Bolt was promoted to Captain having minimum standards changed

Photo: From June 29, 2020 Agent Jason Bolt (left), Mayor Derek Slaughter (middle),

Chief of Police Damon Hagan (right), former Mayor Campana (not pictured)

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

Information listed in the Federal lawsuit COMPLAINT filed today on behalf of Steve Helm of the Williamsport Bureau of Police; allege Jason Bolt was promoted to Captain of the Patrol Division having minimum standards changed for the position as noted in #45, #46  and #53 of the complaint.

1. Plaintiff Steven Helm is an adult individual who resides in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.
2. Defendant Derek Slaughter, is an adult individual, who at times relevant to this Complaint was the Mayor of the City of Williamsport.
3. Defendant Gabriel Campana, is an adult individual, who at times relevant to this Complaint was the Mayor of the city of Williamsport.
4. Defendant City of Williamsport is a Municipality located at 245 W. Fourth Street, Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, and is a Political Subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania duly organized as a Third Class City.
5. Defendant City of Williamsport is vested with the management and administration of law enforcement in the City of Williamsport by and through its agency, the Williamsport Bureau of Police, in which it is further vested with the supervision, hiring, promotion of police officers and police administration employed by the City of
Williamsport.

This is an action to redress the deprivation under color of statute, custom or usage of the rights, privileges, and immunities secured to the Plaintiff by the Constitution of the United States and 42 U.S.C. §1983.

15. In the Fall of 2018, David Young, Williamsport Police Chief at the time, announced his intention to retire.
16. In or about December 2018, Defendant Gabriel Campana, Mayor of the City of Williamsport at the time, began discussions with Miller, a former Williamsport Police Officer, regarding thoughts on the open Chief position.
17. Campana sought the advice of Doc Miller on who should be the next Chief of Police.
18. Doc Miller advised Campana that it was obvious that it should be Plaintiff Steven Helm because of his years in the department, his experience in leadership roles and the fact that he was respected in the Department.
19. Campana indicated that he would not promote Plaintiff to Chief because Plaintiff had filed lawsuits against the City.
20. Campana eventually offered the position of Chief to Doc Miller.

21. Doc Miller specifically advised Mayor Campana that he wanted to have Plaintiff Steven Helm as Assistant Chief, because he was the most qualified Police Officer in the Department.
22. Mayor Campana would not agree to allow Plaintiff Steven Helm to be promoted to Assistant Chief.
23. In or about January 2019, Damon Hagan was appointed by Mayor Campana as the Chief of Police.
24. Damon Hagan advocated his desires to have Plaintiff Steven Helm be appointed to the Assistant Chief position, as the most qualified Police Officer in the Department.
25. Mayor Campana refused to allow Plaintiff Steven Helm to be promoted to Assistant Chief.
26. In or about January 2019, Aaron LeVan was promoted by Mayor Campana to the Assistant Chief position.
27. In or about September of 2019, Aaron LeVan stepped down as Assistant Chief.

28. After LeVan stepped down, Chief Hagan again pushed for the promotion of Plaintiff Steven Helm to Assistant Chief, as the most qualified Police Officer in the Department.
29. Once again, Mayor Campana refused to promote Plaintiff Steven Helm to Assistant Chief.
30. Steven Helm to Assistant Chief, Chief Hagan advised Campana that Plaintiff Steven Helm is the most qualified person within the Department to take the job and that Helm deserved the promotion.
31. On or about September 10, 2019, Mark Sechrist was promoted to Assistant Chief. Prior to being promoted  Assistant Chief, Mark Sechrist had served the Department as a Patrolman since approximately 1991.
32. On January 6, 2020, Defendant Derek Slaughter was officially sworn in and assumed the office of Mayor of Williamsport replacing Defendant Gabriel Campana.
33. In the Fall of 2020, Chief Hagan began solicitating letters of interest and resumes to replace Mark Sechrist as Assistant Chief because Mark Sechrist was retiring.
34. In or about September 2020, Chief Hagan announced that he intended to seek approval to promote a Captain of Detectives, which would be an additional Police Administration position.
35. During multiple conversations and meetings between Plaintiff Steven Helm and Chief Damon Hagan, Hagan and Sechrist as Assistant Chief as he was the most qualified Police Officer in the Department.

36. After it was announced that the Department was taking applications for the open position of Assistant Chief and the newly created Captain of Detectives, six (6) Police Officers applied for the positions. This included Plaintiff Lieutenant Steven Helm, Lieutenant Fred Miller, Lieutenant Marlin Smith, Lieutenant Jason Bolt, Sergeant Jody
Miller and Agent Justin Snyder.
37. With the exception of Agent Justin Snyder and Lieutenant Bolt, who had recently been promoted to Lieutenant on August 17, 2020, the candidates had extensive supervisory experience.
38. In or about October 2020, Jason Bolt resigned from his position as Lieutenant and requested to return to the ranks as an Agent.
39. In or about December 2020, it became known that Lieutenant Marlin Smith would be promoted to Assistant Chief and Agent Justin Snyder would be promoted as Captain of Detectives.
40. Lieutenant Fred Miller had previously been performing supervisory duties with respect to the Detectives but was passed over for the position in favor of a less experienced candidate.
41. Prior to the official announcement of the promotions, Plaintiff Steven Helm was summoned to Chief Damon Hagan’s conference room. The purpose of the meeting was for Hagan to officially notify Plaintiff Steven Helm that despite Hagan’s belief that Helm was the most qualified candidate for the Assistant Chief position, he was being passed over for promotion yet again.
42. Approximately one week later, Plaintiff was called back again to meet with Chief, but Defendant Mayor Slaughter would not permit the promotion.
43. Shortly after Plaintiff’s meetings with Chief Hagan, Marlin Smith announced his intention not to accept the promotion to Assistant Chief and to withdraw his name from consideration.
44. After Marlin Smith’s withdrawal the remaining candidates for the Assistant Chief position included Plaintiff Lieutenant Steven Helm, Lieutenant Fred Miller, Sergeant Jody Miller and Agent Jason Bolt, who had resigned from his Lieutenant
position.

45. After Marlin Smith’s withdrawal, on Plaintiff Steven Helm, Fred Miller and Jody Miller met the minimum qualifications for the Assistant Chief position. Agent Bolt did not meet the minimum qualifications for the Assistant Chief position.

46. After Marlin Smith’s withdrawal, defendants changed the open position from Assistant Chief to Captain of the Patrol Division and altered the minimum qualifications for the new position. 

47. As indicated infra, Plaintiff Lieutenant Steven Helm had filed two (2) recent 42 U.S.C. §1983, First Amendment Freedom of Association claims against the City of Williamsport and his Supervisors.
48. On November 6, 2018, Lieutenant Fred Miller filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 Freedom of Association Claim against the City of Williamsport and its Supervisors at No. 4:18-CV-2148.
49. Lieutenant Fred Miller entered into a Settlement Agreement with Defendant City of Williamsport in relation to his Freedom of Association Claims on June 14, 2019.
50. Like Plaintiff Steve Helm, Fred Miller’s Freedom of Association Claim was premised upon First Amendment Retaliation based upon Fred Miller association with F.O.P. Lodge 29 and his pursuit of matters on behalf of the Union.
51. Both Plaintiff Steve Helm and Fred Miller believed the Union’s status and activities were vitally important to protect the interest of police officers and the general public and for that reason they pursued claims against the City to preserve the Union status and stop the City and its Supervisors from engaging in unlawful anti-union activities.
52. Sergeant Jody Miller filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 First Amendment Retaliation Claim against the City of  Williamsport and his Supervisors. His complaint was filed on March 25, 2020, at No. 4:20-CV-00485, and was dismissed by an Opinion and Order of the Court filed December 28, 2020.

53. Agent Jason Bolt was promoted to the position of Captain of the Patrol Division over three (3) far more experienced candidates, all of whom had filed recent 42 U.S.C. §1983 First Amendment Retaliation Claims against the City and their Supervisors.

54. In conversations with Chief Damon Hagan regarding the failure to promote him to the Assistant Chief or Captain of the Patrol Division position, Hagan has advised Plaintiff Steven Helm that he would have liked nothing more that because Hagen felt Helm deserved it and was the most qualified person for the positions without a doubt.
55. The Mayor of the City of Williamsport makes all final decisions as to promotions of police officers to the position of Assistant Chief and Captain.

Is this a case of retaliation and reverse racism?

The entire complaint can be read here.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.