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Fired SCI Greene Guards Regain Jobs

After months of negotiation with the union, the Pennsylvania DOC agreed to reinstate two guards who were fired from its Greene County prison. George Reposky and Mark Powell were fired and other guards were disciplined in May 1998 for using excessive force against SCI Greene prisoners. [See: "Whitewash in Greene County", Sept. '98 PLN ].

The union might have quickly settled grievances that were filed by 11 other guards who were disciplined, "but we weren't going to settle anything without those two," said William Herbert, president of the AFSCME local that represents state prison guards.

Two senior guards, Lts .John Tustin and Scott Nickleson, were also fired, along with nine other senior guards who were demoted, suspended, or transferred. They held management positions and do not belong to the union. Herbert said they are negotiating their own deal with the state Civil Service Commission.

Reposky was transferred to SCI Waynesburg and Powell to SCI Pittsburgh. Neither received back pay for the three months they were out of work (and collecting unemployment compensation) but retain their seniority and pay rate.

DOC Spokesperson Michael Lukens said Reposky and Powell "realized what they've done [using excessive force against prisoners] is inconsistent with Department of Corrections' policy."

But the deal, negotiated between the AFSCME, the DOC and the Governor's Office of Administration, neither exonerated the guards or required them to admit guilt.

"It's the union position that the officers did nothing wrong and were just following the procedures established by those in charge of SCI Green at the time," Herbert said. "They had only worked at SCI Greene, and that was the way things were done."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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