• Mount Pocono Boro*

Lori Noonan Apparently to be Terminated by Council after 30 years, Without Notice or Hearing

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

An official Borough Contact List obtained by The Boro on Wednesday, September 2, lists Jean Simchak as "Interim Borough Secretary/Treasurer". As of the time the list was circulated, the 30-year veteran of that position still held the position.

MOUNT POCONO (SEP 2 2020) - Six months after Council Member Fran O'Boyle was overheard complaining to a resident that the Borough Council was looking to push long-time Borough Secretary and Treasurer Lori Noonan out of her position, the mayor and his council president appear poised to involuntarily terminate Secretary Noonan.

A so-called "emergency meeting" notice was published in the Pocono Record this week. The meeting is scheduled for 7 pm tomorrow evening, at the borough building, following a 6 pm executive session.

The Borough Code has no provisions for an "emergency meeting". Borough officials questioned by The Boro either did not respond or said they had no idea what the "emergency" was. A regular meeting was long scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 - only two business days after the scheduled "emergency" meeting. Under the Open Meetings Law, an "emergency" is limited to an actual imminent threat of danger to life or property.

Council has not released an agenda for the meeting nor revealed the purpose.

However, an official borough contact list circulated this week replaced Secretary Noonan with "Interim Borough Secretary/Treasurer" Jean Simchak. Simchak was also selected by the mayor to replace Secretary Noonan's husband, Dennis, when the council fired him in March, also without notice or due process. Simchak has not been appointed to that position by council and Secretary Noonan has not been removed. Residents have reported that Simchak appeared to be in charge of the borough offices this week and she attended the forensic accounting RFP bid openings appearing to act as secretary. Since the Borough Secretary can be removed only by council, acting at a lawful public meeting, it therefore appears that the special meeting is in connection with council's plan to terminate Secretary Noonan. In addition, email directed to the Borough Secretary bounces with the message the address no loner exists. All of this having been done without any notice to Secretary Noonan.

In dozens of communications with current and former members of council and mayors who served with Secretary Noonan over the last three decades, not one had anything negative to say about their experience with her; all were effusive in their praise for Secretary Noonan's depth of knowledge, expertise, and professionalism. Many of them participated in published tributes to Secretary Noonan for her long, loyal service to the Borough.

But things began to change late last year, when the mayor and council president appeared to embark on a vendetta against Borough employees, seemingly blaming employees for the borough budget problems. The mayor and council worked to remove and reduce employment benefits, failed to include employee raises in the budget, while simultaneously raising taxes and trying to increase their own pay and obtain health benefits for themselves. Those actions, together with their public criticisms of employees, resulted in a vast majority (if not all) of the employees signing union cards requesting a union election. Recently, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board granted the union petition and ordered the Borough to conduct an election. That election is taking place this week.

On February 24, the borough received the union request for an election. On March 2, the council suddenly, without warning or explanation, fired zoning officer Dennis Noonan. In January, the council had unanimously re-appointed Noonan to the zoning post. That action, and a series of alleged related retaliations against Secretary Noonan, led to a filing of another labor complaint by the teamsters, alleging unfair labor practices by the mayor and council.

The late June complaint filed with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board accuses the mayor and council of retaliation against Dennis and Lori Noonan for their support of the borough employee request for union representation. According to Teamsters Local 773, which is the union invited in by the employees, the mayor and council imposed unfounded reprimands on Secretary Noonan and substantially increased her workload. Borough employees report apparently irrational berating of Secretary Noonan by the mayor and council president. The August 26 hearing on those charges has been rescheduled for October 27, at the borough's request. Members of council did not respond to a request for comment. Tomorrow's meeting will be conducted in the borough building and will also be available via Zoom. Following is the connection information provided by the borough for connecting to the zoom conference: Claudette Williams is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Mount Pocono Borough Council Special Meeting

Time: Sept 3, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 798 6223 9848

Passcode: kWj3ky

To contact council members directly on the matter, you can do so with the following addresses: Claudette Williams, cwilliams@mountpocono-pa.gov

Francis O’Boyle, foboyle@mountpocono-pa.gov

Stacy Stewart-Keeler. s.stewart-keeler@mountpocono-pa.gov

Aida Montanez, Aida.S.Montanez@mountpocono-pa.gov

Thomas Neville, tneville@mountpocono.gov

Patty K. Bucco, pbucco@mountpocono-pa.gov

Ron Emilie, Ronemilie@mountpocono-pa.gov

{Updated SEP 3 2020 to add information about the deletion of Secretary Noonan's email account.}

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