Luzerne County Human Resources Director Donna Davis Javitz was terminated Monday, creating the second county management vacancy this month.
Tanis Manseau, one of the county’s eight top division heads, abruptly left employment in early October amid speculation he was forced out.
County Manager Robert Lawton and his administration declined to discuss any details about the departure of Davis Javitz, citing personnel confidentiality.
An attorney, Davis Javitz was hired as human resources director in August 2014 at a salary of $55,000. She could not be reached for comment.
She was unpopular with some union leaders.
Union leader Paula Schnelly earlier this year criticized the human resource office’s decision to pursue costly arbitration in some grievances, even though she said it was clear the county had failed to honor union contract requirements. Schnelly, head of the of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union representing hundreds of county workers, had said these cases should have been settled.
County Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik will oversee human resources until the director position is advertised and filled.
The human resources office lost two veteran employees earlier this year due to retirement — generalist Marilynn Allabaugh and collective bargaining officer Max Blaskiewicz.
Allabaugh was a 20-year employee, and Blaskiewicz had worked as county collective bargaining officer since May 2004.
While Allabaugh’s position has been filled, the administration opted to eliminate the collective bargaining officer position and create a new human resources business partner position instead. The administration is interviewing applicants for the business partner position, which pays $46,000 to $52,000.
The collective bargaining officer position had been heavily criticized when it was created in 2004.
Prior commissioners Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak said a bargaining officer was needed to assist the human resources director with union contract negotiations and grievances, but colleague Stephen A. Urban said it was “just a political position being created for political reasons.”
Parsnik has said the department is too short staffed for someone to focus primarily on collective bargaining matters.
The business partner will handle a range of administrative duties, including maintaining and compiling reports and records and overseeing countywide safety programs, insurance and risk management work.
The human resources office also employs a second generalist.
The county is in the process of publicly advertising the vacant operational division head position, the administration said.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.