UNION TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS Residents voice concerns about layoffs

A supervisor said the quality of road treatment is the same as before the cuts.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Fallout from the recent elimination of several township positions came as Union Township supervisors held their first regular meeting of the new year.
Earlier this month, Supervisors Steve Galizia and Pat Angiolelli voted to eliminate two road department workers, two park employees and one clerk-typist.
Tuesday, Galizia and Angiolelli faced about 50 residents, including the laid-off workers' union officials, who demanded more information about the way the job abolishment was handled and about budget decisions being made by the new board.
The third supervisor, Kevin Guinaugh, did not attend the meeting. Galizia said Guinaugh had other commitments and declined an offer by the other two supervisors to reschedule the meeting.
In support
Lisa Robertson, a township resident who is president of another American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local union, said she was attending to support her AFSCME colleagues in Union Township. She told supervisors they violated the union contract by failing to offer to talk with employees before making the cuts.
Danny Grove, staff representative for AFSCME's district council, said after the meeting that he does not understand why the township did not contact the union to discuss solutions short of job elimination. "Finances have been a problem in the past and we have worked with them every winter," he said.
Galizia said once tax money starts arriving in the spring, the laid-off workers may be called back according to seniority. He said the township is required to honor the seniority list for 12 months. Some of those attending disagreed, stating that when a job is abolished, the seniority list is irrelevant.
Road complaint
In response to a road complaint from one resident, Galizia insisted that the quality of road treatment is the same as it was in the past, despite the cuts. He said in the recent snowstorms, the township has had three routes, three trucks and three men, as it has in the past. He said that the only difference is that there is no longer a fourth worker loading the trucks when they return. Drivers must now load their own trucks. He said a fourth worker is available for call-out if one of the drivers gets sick.
In other business Tuesday:
UEileen Shuler, who ran the township's surplus food program for years, complained that the volunteer position was taken from her after 27 years and given to Galizia's wife, Becky. Shuler said she personally phoned more than 100 elderly and handicapped persons every time there was a food distribution because they were unlikely to hear of it through the regular channels.
USupervisors explained, in response to some criticism, that a $4,000 raise given to Zoning Inspector Harry Pasquerrello covers expanded duties he will have when the new zoning ordinance is approved and that the increase is not effective until then.
USupervisors declined to answer questions about whether police Chief Joe Lombardo and police officers will get a raise under the new police contract, stating contract details are not yet final.