911 Supervisor Files State and Federal Discrimination Complaint Against Clarion County

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A Clarion County 911 supervisor has filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) against Clarion County, alleging the County failed to promote her based on sex and age.

Shannon Powers of the PHRC confirmed to exploreClarion.com that Susan Buechele, a 911 supervisor, filed the complaint on June 14, 2014, and an investigation began on June 19.

“A fact-finding conference is scheduled as part of an investigation and is an opportunity to get both parties to the table,” said Powers.  “There is generally a settlement offer on the table where we would outline what settlement terms we can suggest under law.  We also put out to both parties what information we need in order to investigate the case.  We request whatever documents are necessary from both parties.  It’s not a public hearing.”

Based on earlier reports, Buechele was one of three candidates interviewed for the position of deputy 911 coordinator, a new position. Dan Gruver was ultimately hired for the position.  OES Director Lance Theiss was later fired by the Clarion County Commissioners from his position and alleged that Gruver was not qualified and lacked the necessary experience and certification for the deputy post.

“The case is also filed with the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) because she is alleging a violation of both state and federal law,” said Powers.  “We are conducting the investigation for both entities.  We have a dual filing arrangement to protect a complainant’s right under state and federal law. The courts have some differences in jurisdiction and differences in what can be awarded.”

Clarion County Human Resources Director Trish Douglas was contacted for comments but said she was not allowed to comment and the Clarion County Commissioners should be contacted regarding the complaint.

“From our perspective, it’s a personnel issue and a potential piece of litigation and can’t comment,” said Commissioner Chairman Wayne Brosius.

The original ad for deputy 911 coordinator stated:

“This is a full time FSLA exempt position with Clarion County Office of Emergency Services.  This individual will be responsible for supervising the 911 Dispatch Center and assisting the OES Director.  Strong leadership and supervisory skills are essential. Minimum three years experience in 911 telecommunications or emergency services required.”

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