By Jamie Wiggan
During a special meeting held June 2, McKees Rocks Council approved an unpaid leave of absence for Borough Manager Ruth Pompey on account of ongoing health issues.
While Pompey is on indefinite leave under continual review, council separately authorized Assistant Secretary LeeAnn Wozniak to serve as substitute manager.
“This illness has been going on for months,” said President Archie Brinza. “...Ms. Pompey was nice enough throughout her sickness to train [Wozniak and administrative assistant Jennifer Slavicek]... which is why we’re confident they can do their job.”
In expanding their responsibilities, the council raised both administrators’ compensation, with Wozniak now receiving $26.60 hourly and Slavicek at $20.45.
Their previous salaries were not disclosed.
Brinza said the raises would remain in effect once Pompey resumes her position or a new manager is appointed.
Speaking from the audience, resident and former councilwoman Maribeth Taylor discouraged council from approving an unpaid leave of absence, citing two former employees she said were denied that privilege after requesting it.
“Now you’re setting a precedent that’s never been set before,” she said.
Without disclosing the nature of Pompey’s illness, borough solicitor Megan Turnbull described it as “a sensitive personnel matter” governed by the American Disabilities Act [ADA].
“[The borough’s obligation to the ADA] very much drives this action item, and my recommendation is that it’s appropriate for council’s consideration,” Turnbull said.
Pompey was initially hired by the borough in September 2016 as a borough secretary and was soon after promoted to manager.
Also during the meeting:
• Council approved purchases for a caterpillar steer loader using $42,593 from the liquid fuels budget and a 2021 Caterpillar 420 Backhoe Loader for $88,095 contingent upon financing.
• Council approved remediation applications for 10 vacant properties using a $1 million RCAP grant secured in December 2020.