Westmoreland County contends fired sheriff’s administrator took personnel records | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Westmoreland County contends fired sheriff’s administrator took personnel records

Rich Cholodofsky
1795439_web1_gtr-fritz-51219
Patricia Fritz

Lawyers for Westmoreland County went to court Friday to ask a judge to order a fired sheriff’s department administrator to return confidential records claimed to have been taken from the courthouse.

The county contends former Chief Deputy Patricia Fritz absconded with personnel records potentially related to complaints lodged against other sheriff’s department employees, including one that involved the deputy who accused her last year of harassment, according to court documents.

Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Chris Scherer scheduled a hearing Dec. 16 on the county’s allegations.

County lawyers claim Fritz and her private lawyer used county records as part of their court challenge of a decision to deny her unemployment benefits earlier this year.

“The county learned through Ms. Fritz’s testimony at this hearing that she, in fact, retained copies and or originals of confidential county property,” according to the court filing.

Fritz, 64, of Mt. Pleasant, was fired in October 2018 shortly after a district judge found her guilty of a summary harassment charge in connection with a confrontation at the courthouse with the president of the union that represents sheriff’s deputies. In August, Senior Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. overturned the conviction.

Fritz’s lawyer, Vicki Kuftic Horne, on Friday denied her client was in possession of county property and suggested the county’s record keeping is flawed.

“We don’t have the documents,” Horne said.

In a separate court filing, Horne said she has copies of documents that support Fritz’s allegations.

She said Fritz in September formally asked the county to reinstate her to her chief deputy position but has yet to receive a response.

Horne also said Fritz has a complaint pending with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission alleging she was improperly fired. She said Fritz intends to file a federal lawsuit against the county, possibly this month.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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.