County lays off four workers

HOLLIDAYSBURG – It took several weeks to resolve, but Blair County commissioners announced Tuesday that four county workers were laid off as a result of a union “bumping” procedure that went into effect after the sale of Valley View Home.

Valley View was purchased in June by a Philadelphia firm, Reliant Valley View Limited Liability Corp., for $16.5 million.

The new company offered 241 Valley View workers jobs.

Some Valley View workers decided to retire. Others decided to take advantage of a procedure in the contract between the Service Employees International Union and the county to bump SEIU workers in the county’s Highway and Maintenance Department, who are also members of the SEIU. Bumping allowed the former Valley View workers to remain county employees.

This was a consequence of the sale that had not been expected, and it shook the morale of the workers who were employed in the courthouse maintenance department, according to two longtime courthouse workers, Tracy Fluke and William Neely.

Commissioner Terry Tomassetti, Diane Meling and Ted A. Beam Jr. on Tuesday morning approved four layoffs that resulted from the bumping.

The workers included: Adam J. Mountain, Robert D. Miller, John J. Hartman and Brad Barroner, all maintenance employees.

Fluke and Neely, the two courthouse employees who brought the issue to the public, were moved from day shift at the courthouse to vacancies on the second-shift staff, preserving their employment with the county.

Fluke has 21 years and Neely 22 years with the county, and both were concerned in June they would be bumped from their jobs.

The fact the four were placed on layoff as opposed to termination means they will have first crack at being rehired when vacancies become available, according to Beam, who spoke for the board on the bumping issue.

Beam said Tuesday that the transition of workers was carried out according to the specifics of the contract between the SEIU and the county.

“It was a matter of the union contract,” he said after the meeting.

He said the people who came from Valley View and the longtime courthouse workers are doing a good job.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.