County settles grievance with former employee for $95,000

Oct. 5—SUNBURY — Former Northumberland County Correctional Officer Holly Olvany was awarded a $95,000 settlement from the county on Tuesday following a union grievance.

At a public meeting, the commissioners approved the settlement agreement with Olvany and the National Correctional Employee Union. Olvany was terminated from her jail position following allegations of misconduct in 2019 that led to a full acquittal of all charges.

The commissioners did not comment on the motion during the meeting, but Chairman Sam Schiccatano after the meeting said they were following the recommendations of county labor attorney Ben Pratt and human resource officer Joe Picarella.

"We have been discussing this matter for some time," said Schiccatano. "We went with the recommendation of the labor attorney. This was the best decision to make at this time for the county's benefit."

Commissioner Joe Klebon agreed, noting the matter was "hashed out" and they followed the recommendations.

County Detective Degg Stark originally reported that the district attorney's office was investigating on Feb. 4, 2019, an outbreak of alleged illegal drugs inside the new county jail in Coal Township. A K-9 from the Northumberland Montour County Drug Task Force focused on Olvany's locker and her vehicle. Investigators collected evidence from Olvany's locker, but she allegedly sped away in her vehicle when approached before law enforcement could stop her, Stark said.

Shamokin District Judge John Gembric dismissed five of six criminal charges in April 2019 and, in September 2019, the district attorney's office withdrew one misdemeanor count of using or possessing a urine test kit designed to mask the effects of drugs in urine.

Lycoming County Senior Judge Dudley N. Anderson in August 2020 determined that Olvany was not guilty of a summary count of careless driving, the last remaining charge from the original criminal complaint.

Olvany filed the union grievance, arguing that the county did not have just cause to terminate her employment, according to the settlement agreement.

The $95,000 represents back pay since the time of her termination. Olvany shall be credited for her years of service from the date of her termination to pay for retirement purposes, according to the settlement agreement.

The county shall deduct from this amount any retirement/pension deductions she would have been eligible to pay. The back pay also consists of any other eligible payouts for unused leave and anticipated overtime. Olvany is responsible for any taxes associated with the payment, according to the agreement.

The county must pay the first installment upon full execution of the settlement and the last installment six months after the settlement, according to the agreement.

Both Olvany and the county agreed to refrain from making disparaging remarks about the other. They both agreed to remove any such remarks previously publicized, according to the agreement.

Olvany is not eligible to return to work for the county in any capacity, according to the agreement.