Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The high cost of Sharon

Dr. Jadwiga Warwas (r.), Plainfield's Health Officer, with Mayor Al
McWilliams and Muhlenberg executive Fred Hipp in 2005
'TopOff 3' bioterrorism exercise.
Once again, Plainfield has learned the high cost of Sharon. City Council approved on Monday a resolution to pay the Municipal Excess Liability Residual Claim Fund $38,941.65 in the matter(s) of Jadwiga Warwas v. City of Plainfield.

Dr. Warwas was Plainfield's Health Officer when Sharon became Mayor and almost at once there was friction between the two. Sharon took the side of employees who complained of harassment by Dr. Warwas, though that complaint was dismissed by a Municipal Court judge. Warwas claimed, among other things, that cash receipts had disappeared from the Health Division and no effort was made to get to the bottom of the matter or discipline the person(s) responsible.

The whole episode puts the Robinson-Briggs administration in an unsavory light -- harassment, missing documents, obstruction of Warwas' ability to perform her duties.

You can read about the initial complaint and Office of Administrative Law decision (see my post from 2007 here; the OAL ruling here).

Though Administrative Law Judge Geraghty found that Warwas had fully disclosed her part-time employment at the time of her hiring (though the City 'lost' her resume), and concluded that she was not insubordinate, guilty of 'conduct unbecoming', nor of misconduct and ordered her reinstatement, the Merit System Board saw otherwise.

Though they ruled Warwas part-time work was prohibited, the Board reinstated her with back pay and seniority, but with a fine equal to the amount earned while working from home.

Dr. Warwas appealed in Federal Court (see that matter here), which did not find in her favor on either of two counts, asserting in one that she did not have standing, and in the other that no First Amendment harm was proven.

However, the reiteration of the facts of the case by Judge Linares in his ruling reveals a pattern of duplicity and harassment by the Robinson-Briggs administration that is quite astounding. Not to mention potential conflicts of interest, especially concerning former Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson, who had represented the (unsuccessful) employee complainants against Warwas in Municipal Court.

In any event, the matter dropped out of sight until last night -- six years later -- at which time the taxpayers had to cough up the $38,941.46 as the City's co-insurance reimbursement to the fund.

Thank God, in fewer than 200 days we will be free from a Mayor using the city government as a personal bludgeon to smite those with whom she does not see eye to eye.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

those damn Republicans.. it'll be nice to get them out of office in 200 days