Council terminates tenure of Tyrone borough manager

“I wasn’t terminated tonight, I was actually terminated on Tuesday,” said Nathan George.
That was the former Tyrone borough manager’’s initial reaction after a special meeting last night of Tyrone Borough Council. The municipality’s governing body voted to terminate George by a vote of 6 to 1 with councilman Bill Fink casting the lone “no vote” against the decision while Sharon Dannaway was absent.
“I was terminated in executive session,” said George. “I was actually escorted out of the building by the chief of police. They confiscated my keys, my pager, my cell phone. I was asked to remove all my personal items and they were packed up in a box.
“My wife and child were downstairs with me, they were also escorted out of the building with the chief of police,” George told The Daily Herald.
When asked the reasons for his termination and the other actions, he said were taken by the borough, he said he would be issuing a press release.
“I feel it is a violation of the sunshine law to take official action in an executive session,” said George. “I was presented with a letter of resignation.
“I was not given an opportunity to talk to anyone, no phone calls, no attorney and at first I wasn’t even allowed to talk to my wife who was downstairs,” said George.
“I will be seeking advice,” said George. “I did not have representation tonight because it was such short notice I was unable to.”
George offered no comment regarding any future plans.
At the beginning of the meeting, George was seated with the rest of the public rather than at his normal chair in the inner sanctum of the council chambers.
George also addressed borough council during the public comment portion of the meeting and addressed concerns regarding what he thought were sunshine law violations and the borough’s home rule charter.
In a written statement which George read to the council and those in attendance, he said he did not “agree or consent with this.”
He stated, “council is engaged in a course of conduct in relation to taking action to wrongfully terminate my employment as borough manager.”
He stated council has violated section 802 of the charter, he said he had received no prior notice or warning his job performance was unsatisfactory to the level of termination for cause. He said he was told it was personnel, borough morale and projects.
“I believe it is a direct retaliation discharge, based on my refusal to comply with council, mayor and solicitor (Larry) Clapper as directed as to my working relationship with executive secretary Kim Murray who was under my direct exclusive supervision and control,” said George. “I also believe council is retaliating against me for suggesting the borough follow its charter, in operating a council management form of government.”
George said he also wanted to put on record that he felt, “sunshine laws were violated.”
He said he had been given a letter of resignation, he also indicated he was not allowed to take a copy of the resignation or the release with him and was not allowed to consult with an attorney or talk with anyone including his own wife.
George said these things were a violation of the charter and sunshine law, without due process of law. He further stated he had originally been told the meeting (to deal with his situation) would be July 12. He said he wasn’t given any notification of last night’s meeting or given time to bring any representation to the meeting.
He then proceeded to ask a number of questions of council including what section of the charter was being used for the dismissal. He also asked what section of the charter was used to hold last night’s meeting, as well as by whom and when was the meeting requested.
George also wondered whether or not the request was verbal or in writing. He also asked when notice of the meeting was posted and what such notice said. He also requested a copy of the notice and asked why he was not notified of the meeting.
He also asked why he wasn’t given the opportunity to consult an attorney while he was being “coerced” to sign a letter of resignation and a release. He asked why he was presented with the information in an executive session which he felt was a violation of the sunshine law.
He also asked for the specific grounds for his termination and how did they rise to the level of sufficient cause as directed by council. George also asked if the borough by scheduling a “public hearing” about his discharge was waiving confidentiality in relation to his employment.
Tyrone Borough placed a legal advertisement in The Daily Herald on Thursday to announce the special meeting. In the ad, the purpose of the meeting stated it would involve a personnel issue. Other matters of scheduled business are also noted.
After his public comments he returned to his seat in the audience and remained there with his wife at his side until the conclusion of the meeting.
“I’m not concerned about his comments,” solicitor Clapper after the meeting.
The borough, did not answer any of George’s many questions before it voted.
Clapper advised council not to discuss the issue during the meeting.