Former Shuman Juvenile Detention Center guard wants job back
The firing of a Shuman Juvenile Detention Center guard charged in an inmate assault that prompted a state investigation wasn't justified and he is seeking to get his job back, a union representative said Friday.
SEIU Local 668 agent Al Smith said the union, which represents 110 workers at the Lincoln-Lemington facility, filed a grievance on behalf of former detention Officer Ronald White. Allegheny County police charged 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 on Jan. 4.
“We felt a five-day suspension wouldn't have been justified. (Management) needs to figure out how they're going to handle these children. It's much harder to control their behavior now than before,” Smith said. “So how do you address it when a fight is breaking out? For years we've been saying there's too much gray area and they always end up throwing the employees under the bus.”
Shuman Director William “Jack” Simmons did not return a call for comment. County spokeswoman Amie Downs declined to comment, citing personnel rules. White could not be reached for comment.
County records show White worked at Shuman from Feb. 2, 2009, until March 12, 2013. He made $16.41 per hour.
The state Department of Public Welfare found “some regulatory violations” in an investigation that began with the abuse accusation Jan. 4.
County Manager William McKain released a report March 8 that uncovered apparent payroll discrepancies, allegations of favoritism on the job and problems with internal security at Shuman. The county Controller's Office is auditing Shuman's payroll system and the Shuman Center Resident Fund, which solicits cash and donations for inmates from detention center employees. The fund does not contain county money.
Smith said union members have complained about the resident fund in the past, citing concerns about where the money went and if money from inmates was deposited into the fund.
In response to a Right to Know Law request from the Tribune-Review seeking all written communication between county Executive Rich Fitzgerald — or his office — and Simmons, the county denied the request, claiming an exemption related to discipline.
The exemption cited was: “Information regarding discipline, demotion or discharge contained in a personnel file.”
Simmons this week declined to answer questions.
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.
- Pedestrian struck, killed by train in Coraopolis
- DOJ program goal: Increased trust between law enforcement, community
- Analyst says Pa. senate race leans toward Toomey — because Democrats ‘loathe’ Sestak
- Millions to travel through Western Pa. during Memorial Day weekend
- Review: Pittsburgh Symphony’s ‘Modern Orchestra’ filled with classic beauty
- Trib wins 12 Golden Quills
- Police seize heroin, cash in North Versailles
- 9 juveniles charged in connection with opening day disturbance at Kennywood
- Penn Hills police investigating suspected credit card abuse in school district
- Pennsylvania Sen. Casey seeks to provide aid to repairing locally owned bridges
- Under Armour latest tenant on Allegheny County Airport Authority property