Former employee sues Uniontown library, director
A former Uniontown Public Library employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the library and its director, alleging political discrimination and violation of the state whistle-blower act.
Pittsburgh attorney Edward A. Olds filed the suit against Lynne Santoliquido Singer Tharan on Monday on behalf of Vicki Leonelli of Uniontown.
Named in the suit are the city of Uniontown and library board President W. Lawrence Bush.
Leonelli, who worked at the library for 18 years, was in charge of its Pennsylvania Room, according to the suit.
It describes Tharan, the library director since 2008, as “a politically active person” with “pronounced Republican/Tea Party-like leanings.”
The suit claims Tharan “brought her politics, her political views and prejudices to the library.”
“Tharan took advantage of her position as the library's director to proselytize her political views. She routinely and frequently circulated political material by way of emails or postings,” the suit states.
Bush and Uniontown city solicitor J.W. Eddy did not return calls for comment.
Tharan said she was aware of the lawsuit and intended to meet with Bush on Tuesday morning.
“We have no comment at this time,” Tharan said.
Leonelli contacted city Councilman Blair Jones regarding Tharan's “failure to conduct the library's business in an acceptable manner,” including her alleged “endless political harassment,” the suit stated.
She later met with Bush, advising him that Tharan “permitted vulgarities, allowed homeless people to camp out in the library” and mishandled the situation when Tharan discovered a revolver in a paper bag in the children's library more than a year ago, it alleged.
“Tharan defended patrons' rights to carry revolvers in the library,” the suit said.
It said Leonelli was fired in July for being “insubordinate.”
Leonelli claims Tharan “harbored ill-will against Leonelli, who is a Democrat, by virtue of their political differences.”
The suit says Tharan is active in Tea Party/Republican circles, and allegedly tried to impose her “far-right ideological viewpoints upon Leonelli and other library staff members.”
Her political affiliation and “whistle-blowing activity” led to Leonelli's firing, the suit alleges.
It claims Leonelli was denied her right to due process because she did not receive a hearing before the board prior to her termination. It alleges Leonelli has suffered lost wages, humiliation, anxiety and stress. She is seeking a jury trial and requests “all appropriate relief,” including damages and attorney fees.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 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.
- Parade of Mustangs to kick off Connellsville’s Mum Festival
- Fayette SPCA closure causes void
- 30 days to decide fate of WCVI
- Fayette County communities proceed with proposed land bank to fight blight
- Connellsville walkers get dose of railroad talk, tracing trains’ track
- Geibel student gets peek at life at Harvard Medical School
- Rain washes out road, blamed in death of Perryopolis man in Perry Township
- Quarantine lifted for most Fayette dogs