County fires HR chief | News, , Jobs

County fires HR chief | News, , Jobs
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HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County commissioners on Tuesday fired a longtime county employee without explanation.

Katherine W. Swigart, who was hired in 2012, was terminated effective Monday based on the commissioners’ action and an email distributed Monday to county employees.

Commissioner Laura Burke, liaison to the human resources department, said Tuesday that the county salary board will address the option of designating an acting director for the department.

The salary board is also responsible for setting a salary range to be used in advertising the now-vacant job opening.

Burke said that with four remaining employees in the county department, she didn’t foresee any problems with maintaining day-to-day operations or the upcoming negotiations of three contracts for union-represented employees, which expire at the end of the year.

The Mirror’s attempts to reach Swigart for comment were unsuccessful.

Swigart, who was hired in 2012 by the commissioners board of Terry Tomassetti, Diane Meling and Ted Beam Jr., assisted county leaders with managing a variety of personnel-related employment issues, including the 2017 pursuit of an overdue salary study that drew criticism for failing to address pay issues and is now considered as outdated.


Swigart has worked for four groups of commissioners. After her 2012 hiring, she retained her job after Bruce Erb joined Tomassetti and Beam as commissioners in 2016, and after Amy Webster and Laura Burke became commissioners with Erb in 2020.

In January, newly elected commissioner Dave Kessling joined Webster and Burke on the board. At Tuesday’s meeting, all three voted to end Swigart’s employment.

Chief Clerk/County Administrator Nicole Hemminger said Tuesday that commissioners agreed to an executive session Thursday with solicitor Christopher Gabriel to discuss one personnel matter. Gabriel is the Pittsburgh attorney whose firm was hired by commissioners in March to handle the bulk of the county’s legal work at what’s expected to be a financial savings. The action ended the county’s longtime reliance on Evey Black Attorneys LLC of Hollidaysburg.

While the county continues to have a higher-than-usual amount of job openings — typically monitored by the county’s human resource office — Burke said that the county continues to take job applications through online submissions. She also said that the job applications filed are available for department supervisors to review and consider.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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