Report on Shuman Juvenile Detention Center in Allegheny County uncovers violations
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The state Department of Public Welfare confirmed on Tuesday that it found “some regulatory violations” in an investigation of Shuman Juvenile Detention Center that began with a teen's accusation of physical abuse by two staffers in January.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, meanwhile, praised his manager for uncovering apparent payroll discrepancies, allegations of favoritism on the job and problems with internal security during a county investigation begun last year.
Fitzgerald said he ordered County Manager William McKain to investigate Shuman when 70 employees claimed they faced a hostile work environment. He hinted the investigation could broaden.
“There was a petition brought to me, and I had the county manager look into it,” Fitzgerald said. “We're going to follow the county manager's recommendations. We're looking at a number of county departments.”
Shuman Director William “Jack” Simmons declined comment. Simmons has headed Shuman since April 2, 2007. His salary is $98,345.
Welfare Department spokeswoman Donna Morgan said the state is investigating the Jan. 4 incident at Shuman and will not release information about it until investigators complete their inquiry. The Lincoln-Lemington facility has 130 beds.
“The preliminary results found some regulatory violations, but the investigation is still ongoing,” Morgan said.
Morgan would not discuss the incident. Court records show county police charged Shuman detention Officer Ronald White with simple assault and official oppression, based on allegations that he hit a 16-year-old inmate's head into a metal door frame using his forearm.
A preliminary hearing for White, 43, of Braddock is scheduled this month. He could not be reached.
Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Fitzgerald, said White is no longer a county employee. She would not discuss details of the departure citing personnel rules.
A representative for the Service Employees International Union did not return calls for comment.
McKain said his report “is a starting point.” The county Controller's Office is auditing Shuman's payroll system and the Shuman Center Resident Fund, which solicits cash and donations for residents. The fund does not involve county money.
“Our work has just begun there,” McKain said. “There are a lot of concerns regarding payroll. It appears people were paid for time not there. I'll wait for the (audit) results and determine the appropriate action. We're looking forward to any recommendations in strengthening controls.”
Fitzgerald said McKain did “a good job” with his investigation of the facility. According to the report, McKain reviewed schedule sheets and payroll records and found “numerous discrepancies in which employees did not clock into the time system yet received a full pay without any documentation to justify time paid.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Donor name to be stripped from Penn Hills library
- Web of surveillance videos helps ensnare suspect in East Liberty slayings
- Animal Rescue League expansion to anchor section of Homewood
- Suspect in East Liberty slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- Qualifications of Peduto nominee for building inspection chief come up short
- FirstEnergy last to get smart meter OK
- Newsmaker: Joseph Bonadio
- State Superior Court denies ex-Sen. Jane Orie’s corruption appeal
- Downtown traffic a mess as protesters take to streets
- On Pittsburgh visit, ambassador says $15B in aid to Ukraine shows support
- PennDOT cash eases road repair pain in Lawrence County