Lycoming District Commissioners’ injunction against District Controller rejected by judge | News, sports, jobs
A complaint filed by Lycoming County’s district officers against the district controller resulting from the reassignment of responsibilities in her department has been dismissed.
Potter County Chief Justice John B. Leete recently issued the order after hearing attorneys on both sides arguing the case in court this spring.
The commissioners filed a complaint against controller Krista Rogers in April shortly after taking action to remove general ledger, salary and accounts payable functions from her office, as the judge’s court order requires.
Two years earlier, the commissioners had agreed to transfer these responsibilities and four employees from the district tax office to the controller’s office.
However, the commissioners claimed that they found the subsequent fulfillment of these tasks unsatisfactory and took action to transfer these functions and staff to the Office of Budget and Finance.
In the complaint, the commissioners alleged that when the controller learned of the reassignment, he threatened to keep the county’s payroll and accounts payable departments “To take hostage by refusing to perform the ministerial role of putting her signature on approved county salary and vendor checks.” The complaint also alleges that Rogers threatened to withhold salaries from the newly assigned staff and that the files were hidden or otherwise not given to the county.
“In essence, in our view, while the judge dismissed the case, we essentially achieved what we wanted to return the ledger, accounts payable, and payroll back to the county housekeeping and finance bureau.” Commissioner Rick Mirabito said. “We believe this will protect taxpayers.”
The controller, he said, will continue to have oversight functions.
Rogers noted that her office doesn’t have this “returned to normal.”
She declined to comment on the judge’s order.
Commissioner Tony Mussare called the judge’s decision a “Profit for the county.”
However, he also questioned it.
“He (judge) said our allegations against Krista were not justified and that there had been no irreparable harm. He rejects the injunction. He found in their favor. The reason was that it did not find any irreparable damage. “
Mussare said there was no ruling on any provision of the district law that was challenged by the commissioners that left the final rulings on tax matters to the district.
The commissioners said they had no intention of appealing the decision.
“We don’t ask for anything” said Mussare. “We did what we had to do. We don’t see the judgment against us. “
Mirabito noted that the fiscal affairs in question were back to what they had long been.
“I have no ill will towards the controller” he said. “I would always respect your supervisory role as a controller.”
Commissioner Scott Metzger said commissioners have to do what they do.
“The injunction was rejected. That was submitted because of the threat that she would not pay bills. “ he said. “The big question of who has authority has not been raised.”
Leete found in his decision that the plaintiffs “Failure to prove irreparable damage that would occur without an injunction.”
As part of his decision, he wrote: “Since an injunction forces the defendant to act instead of just failing to act, courts will only issue an injunction if it is very conclusively proven that the plaintiff has a ‘clear right’ to redress.”
He further stated: “Where … a mandatory preliminary injunction is issued, the issue is subjected to a stricter examination than an injunction, because it is an extraordinary legal remedy that should only be used in the rarest of cases.”
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