Former HR director suing Luzerne County among those who applied for manager job

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - | May 3rd, 2016 5:45 pm

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Former Luzerne County human resources director Donna Davis Javitz and Hazleton resident James Tighe are now in the running for the top Luzerne County manager position, according to a source.

Davis Javitz has a pending federal lawsuit against the county and two top county officials over her October termination as county human resources director.

The council had asked the citizen manager search committee, which conducted the initial search and screening, for the next highest ranked applicant because one of the top three finalists withdrew.

The committee forwarded the names of two more applicants instead of one because they were tied for the fourth slot based on the committee’s scoring, even when the tabulations were carried out to two decimal places, according to an email council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck sent to her colleagues Tuesday.

Davis Javitz’s lawsuit, which also names as defendants Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik and prior county manager Robert Lawton, claims the county allowed “retaliatory actions” against her.

County officials had declined to discuss any details about her departure. She had been hired as human resources director in August 2014 at a salary of $55,000.

The complaint, which was filed by Pittston attorney Cynthia L. Pollick, claims the county failed to act on Davis’ report of a union employee’s alleged illegal recording of a meeting without permission, and did not provide reasons or due process in her termination.

She is seeking reinstatement, back pay, damages, attorneys fees and costs and punitive damages.

Attorneys representing the county have said the suit contains “baseless claims.”

Contacted Tuesday, Davis Javitz said she applied for the manager job because she is qualified.

If offered the manager position, she did not know if she would withdraw her suit.

“I’d have to give that more thought,” she said.

According to a resume and other information forwarded to the council:

Davis Javitz has a bachelor’s degree in public administration with a minor in business from the University of Scranton and obtained advanced law degrees from the Temple University School of Law. She also is certified as a senior professional in human resources.

She has been operating her own law practice in Throop, Lackawanna County, since January 1996.

In addition to the county human resources position, she worked as a human resources generalist manager at Integrity Staffing at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Allentown from November 2013 to January 2014, was in-house counsel at Munley Law in Scranton from July to September 2011 and was attorney advisor for the office of the staff judge advocate at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, from March 2008 to March 2009.

Her resume also lists other work in law and human resources from 1984 to 2008.

“My work history is rich in multiple and varying experiences,” she wrote.

Tighe has a bachelor of science degree from Excelsior College and more than 25 years of hands-on experience as the lead planner and manager of “diverse matrix organizations,” ranging from small units under 50 to large organizations with more than 4,000 personnel.

Tighe has worked as a simulations analyst for Tapestry Solutions since 2014 at its Joint Military Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, developing and monitoring training exercises for the U.S. Army in Europe.

He previously worked as a senior operations officer managing U.S. Army installations within Kuwait from 2012 to 2014 — a position that included oversight of $10 million in contracts and $62.4 million in equipment inventory.

Tighe was team operations officer for the U.S. Army Central Command from 2011 to 2012 and held several leadership positions with increasing responsibility in both the the military and private sector from 1988 to 2011.

“With my rich mix of skills, I am certain that my qualifications are in line with your requirements,” he wrote.

The council was scheduled to interview the two original finalists Tuesday night: Jeffrey D. Beck, of Mountain Top, and C. David Pedri, of Butler Township.

Beck has a master’s degree in business administration, owned a cleaning franchise company and previously had served as president and board director of Advanta Bank Corp. Pedri is chief county solicitor, has been serving as acting county manager since January, previously ran a private family law practice and worked as deputy county district attorney.

The council has not scheduled interviews with the two new finalists.

David W. Johnston, of Washington, withdrew as a finalist last week, saying he was pursuing other opportunities.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.