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Vets affairs director fired

Young previously challenged leaders over job application

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County employee who recently challenged leaders over bypassing his application for a top administrator post has been fired.

Patrick A. Young, who has been the county veterans affairs director since 2017, had his employment terminated Monday. Commissioners on Tuesday approved the action during their weekly business meeting.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr., liaision to the veterans affairs office, declined to comment on the reason behind Young’s termination.

County Administrator Helen Schmitt said commissioners met last week in executive session to review a personnel matter relative to a specific employee. But she declined to say if the meeting addressed Young’s termination.

The Mirror tried to reach Young on Tuesday for comment but did not get a response.

Sources indicate that Young has been on paid leave from his post for almost two weeks, while the county’s human resources department was conducting an unspecified investigation.

Beam also declined to say if Young’s termination was or was not linked to his most recent protest.

In mid-November, Young challenged county leaders on promoting Assistant County Administrator/Chief Clerk Nicole Hemminger to succeed Schmitt who is retiring at the end of the year. Hemminger has been in her current post for about three years.

Young pointed out that because the main qualifications for the job are leadership and supervisory skills, he and others were overlooked because those in charge of the county were interested only in hiring Hemminger.

Before challenging commissioners, Young questioned the county’s Human Resources Director Katherine Swigart about being considered for the post. He said his 30 years’ service to the military should have elevated his status as a job candidate, especially since the county advertises itself as an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Swigart, in an email to Young that the Mirror has obtained, told Young that his application for the county administrator post was not as strong as other candidates who advanced. Swigart also wrote, in that same email message to Young, veteran status is relevant for federal or civil service positions.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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