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Harmar residents call decision not to rehire secretary Dietz a major mistake

| Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 1:31 a.m.

Questions continue to be raised over last month's dismissal of Harmar Township's secretary/treasurer.

A majority of the supervisors did not reappoint Annette Dietz to the position at their reorganization meeting on Jan. 6.

Several residents at the supervisors meeting on Thursday questioned and criticized supervisors for that decision, saying that they made a mistake by letting Dietz go and that she had been doing a good job.

Supervisors Patricia Janoski, Kim Toney and Bob Exler had voted in favor of seeking new candidates for the position; Jerry Chalmers and Linda Slomer voted against it.

Dietz had been secretary/treasurer for six years.

Former Supervisor Michael Hillery, who lost election to Janoski in November, said supervisors stripped all of the experience out of the secretary/treasurer's office by getting rid of Dietz.

“There should be more information given about why she was let go,” he said. “She did a good job.”

Hillery asked what qualities they'd be looking for in a new employee that Dietz did not possess.

Supervisors did not answer those questions. Solicitor Charles Means said he advised supervisors not to discuss personnel matters in a public venue.

After the meeting, Janoski said the township has not advertised the position but has received three applications for it.

An advertisement will go out soon, she said.

Janoski said she hopes the position will be filled within a month.

Slomer asked to be part of the interview process. Exler said he had been excluded from interviews in the past and in 2012 had been denied a copy of Dietz's resume.

In other business

• Slomer and several residents said that $600 that was spent to change locks on the township building was a “waste” of taxpayer money.

The issue was raised because Chalmers said he had not been notified that was being done, did not have a key and could not get in the building to get his packet for the meeting.

Janoski said that the locks had been changed as a routine matter and that a key was available for Chalmers.

• Supervisors named office assistant Laura Conte as the township's designated right-to-know officer.

A right-to-know officer handles requests for information made under the state's Right To Know law. Dietz previously held the position.

• Engineer Larry Seiler of Senate Engineering gave supervisors a list of roads that could be resurfaced this year.

The number of roads listed likely exceeds the township's budget for road paving, and choices will have to be made, he said.

Seiler suggested that Ridge Road be included because of a small slide that is developing. The road is the only way in or out of a residential area, he said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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