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New policy falls short

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Letter to the Editor
Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Regarding Eric Heyl's column “Heyl: Gravy train comes to an abrupt halt for Allegheny judges' relatives” : It's unfortunate that Allegheny County Common Pleas Court President Judge Jeffrey Manning, in his anti-nepotism policy and his “grandfathering clause,” could not have made an exception for the most Honorable Donna Jo McDaniel, who misused her power in hiring four of her relatives. Donna Jo found nice, well-paid court positions for her relatives yet did nothing as president judge to help Allegheny County court employees receive a fair and equal wage. I only hope the voters of Allegheny County remember her stunts in 2015, when she's up for retention.

Judge Manning's anti-nepotism policy does not go far enough and the gravy train will continue for the judges' friends and friends-of-friends who will not be selected on merit but by the old-fashioned county way, which is “who you know, not what you know.” Their cushy ride is also enhanced by the fact that judges' staffs follow their own individual “rules” of conduct and attendance, very different from regular county and court employees who must punch clocks and dare not be a minute late.

So, the gravy train may lose a few family passengers but the seats will surely be filled by a select few of the judges' choosing.

Robert O'Shea


The writer is a retired Allegheny County family court manager.

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