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Clerk wants back pay from Jeannette

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Jeannette City Clerk Mike Minyon Jr., who has been on medical leave since March, wants the city to pay him for 1,200 hours of work that he says he wasn't compensated for, Mayor Richard Jacobelli said.

Minyon's attorney, Tom Plaitano, said his client deserves the money after the city “cast him aside” because of a medical condition. He has not specified any amount of money to city officials.

“This is truly a shame, considering that he originally accepted the position with the city at a reduced wage, worked countless hours of overtime, deferring pay for the same, and worked on holidays, including New Year's Eve, all in an attempt to help the city through its financial difficulties,” Plaitano said.

Minyon, 66, has been off work since he suffered heart problems and a stroke following an argument with Councilman Gabriel Homan in city hall in March. Homan was charged with disorderly conduct, but the charge was dismissed at a preliminary hearing.

Plaitano said Minyon is now blind in one eye and has some paralysis in an arm and leg.

“Given the clear legal connection between the incident at city hall and his medical condition, it is shocking that they have taken the position to refuse his benefits, deny paying for his medical care and cast him aside,” Plaitano said.

Minyon is expected to be fired from his $54,700-a-year position on Wednesday when council meets.

City attorney Scott Avolio said Minyon was ordered to return to work May 27 after using his allotted sick and vacation time. He failed to report, Avolio said.

“We've received no word (from Minyon), so the city will have to consider termination,” Avolio said. “The city of Jeannette does not have any comp-time agreement, to my knowledge, with any employee” pertaining to reimbursement.

Plaitano said Minyon was willing to return to work provided he could stay away from Homan.

“We have communicated this situation to the city and have indicated a willingness for Mr. Minyon to return to work with limitations and no contact with that certain member of council. As of today, we have not received a response from the city as to whether they would accept him back with his doctor's restrictions,” Plaitano said.

Jacobelli said Minyon was given four weeks of vacation and six weeks of sick time after he fell ill following the dispute at city hall.

“We were more than generous,” Jacobelli said.

He said the city has no policy allowing light duty for employees and can't allow Minyon to return to work with physical limitations.

Minyon's position as city clerk will be eliminated when the city hires a professional manager to oversee daily operations. The Third Class City Code requires cities to have a clerk but allows that post to be merged into the manager's position.

Minyon, a former councilman, was hired as city clerk after the former clerk was fired. Council fired Minyon's two predecessors, who successfully sued Jeannette.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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