Luzerne County HR Director Mark Szot leaves after less than a month


By Jennifer Learn-Andes - jandes@timesleader.com



Luzerne County Human Resources Director turnover

• Kimberli Weiland, February to June 2004 (fired)

• Doug Richards, April 2005 to November 2009 (fired)

• Randi Audi-Davis, served less than a month in March 2010

• Andrew Check, April 2010 to May 2014

• Donna Davis Javitz, August 2014 to October 2015 (fired)

• Mark Szot, served for less than a month in June 2016

The Luzerne County office that oversees personnel has lost another director, the most recent in a long string of such managers to vacate their office in short order.

New human resources director Mark Szot has resigned after less than a month on the job, continuing a chain of department leadership problems dating back more than a decade.

Three county human resources directors have been fired since 2004, and another previously left after less than a month. Andrew Check was the only human resources director during the last 12 years to remain in the position for several years and leave on his own.

County Manager C. David Pedri said Tuesday he can’t comment on Szot’s resignation, citing personnel confidentiality.

Pedri informed the council of Szot’s departure in a brief email July 1 and said the administration will advertise the opening.

“This is an important position for the county,” Pedri said Tuesday. “We will continue to search for the right person, and I’m confident we will find someone who will move the county forward.”

Szot, of Harveys Lake, had started work in the $65,000-a-year position on June 6.

The administration said Szot has prior military experience and most recently worked as regional human resources director for Golden Living Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers.

Szot said Tuesday he agreed to leave the county position for “personal reasons” and declined to elaborate.

“It was nothing to do with the county,” Szot said, praising and describing the county administration as “incredible.”

Before Szot’s hiring, the position had been vacant for seven months.

Former human resources director Donna Davis Javitz has a pending lawsuit against the county over her October 2015 termination from the position. An attorney, Davis Javitz had been hired to the position in August 2014 at a salary of $55,000.

Check, her predecessor, left in May 2014 after four years in the position to accept a human resources director position with a private-sector company.

He followed Randi Audi-Davis, who resigned in March 2010 after less than a month on the job for a position outside county government.

Doug Richards, who preceded Audi-Davis, was fired as human resources director in November 2009 before pleading guilty as part of a federal corruption probe.

Federal prosecutors said Richards accepted money from Continental Consultants Group, a firm that handled payroll for workers who were hired to do cleanup after flooding in the county in 2006.

Kimberli Weiland — Richards’ predecessor — also had been fired in June 2004 after a Times Leader investigation revealed she had been disbarred for altering her law school transcripts, was wanted in Indiana on a shoplifting charge and faced charges in Ohio after allegedly obstructing a police investigation.

The department processes many personnel-related matters for the county’s 1,400 employees, including benefits and grievances. The administration has been planning to implement annual performance reviews for all employees and update other personnel protocol, Pedri said.

Until a new director is hired, county Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik will resume overseeing day-to-day management of human resources, Pedri said.

“We have some big issues under development,” Pedri said. “We hope the next person will take the ball and run with it.”

http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_Luzerne-County-Seal-Logo.jpg

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

jandes@timesleader.com

Luzerne County Human Resources Director turnover

• Kimberli Weiland, February to June 2004 (fired)

• Doug Richards, April 2005 to November 2009 (fired)

• Randi Audi-Davis, served less than a month in March 2010

• Andrew Check, April 2010 to May 2014

• Donna Davis Javitz, August 2014 to October 2015 (fired)

• Mark Szot, served for less than a month in June 2016

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

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

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