January 1, 2009 Issue                                       



Allens Lane gets a face-lift
Crime Report


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Phila. PA 19118
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Local News

11-year Local staffer fired at CHCA board meeting

Robyn John and Jimmy Pack. (Photo by Nick Tsigos)

Longtime Local employee Jimmy J. Pack Jr. was fired Monday morning, Dec. 29, because of a series of comments he made to members of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s board and its employees that were deemed harassing and otherwise inappropriate, according to sources in the CHCA.

Pack’s firing was approved by a vote of the CHCA board of directors during an executive session at the organization’s Dec. 18 meeting. Because executive sessions are not open to the public, the Local’s information comes from interviews with board members who did not want to be indentified.

The association owns the Local, and its board – composed of 50 members – has final authority on personnel matters. It does not, however, normally hire or fire Local staffers.

Dina Hitchcock, vice president of operations for the association, declined to comment, saying that the matter was personal and that discussion of personnel matters was inappropriate. Further, she said that because the matter was discussed in executive session, she was bound by association rules not to divulge those details.

Pack told the Local Monday that he does not believe his termination was fair. First, he said he was not informed why he was fired. Pack also said he did not get the opportunity to address the charges against him. Instead, he learned of his termination and the board vote before Hitchcock had the opportunity to meet with him. He was already aware that he had been fired when he finally met with Hitchcock and CHCA president Tolis Vardakis on the morning of Dec. 29. He refused to discuss the matter, asked for his termination papers and left.

Though Hitchcock would not discuss the reasons why Pack was fired, the firing occurred less than one month after an altercation between Pack and a member of the association’s board, Rob Remus.

According to e-mails from both Pack and Remus, the two men got into a verbal altercation immediately after the Nov. 20 board meeting when — and both men agree on this — Pack provoked Remus with a criticism of a report Remus had just delivered to the board concerning the Local‘s finances. Remus said that Pack used profanity. Pack said he did not.

During that altercation, Pack alleged that Remus made derogatory comments and threatened him. That night he wrote a complaint and e-mailed it to LeCalsey who promptly reported the matter to the CHCA’s officers.

The following week, Rob Remus sent an e-mail to Hitchcock, the CHCA officer responsible for operational matters at the association and the Local, in which he denied using discriminatory language and said only that he called Pack a “pussy.” Further, Remus said he believed, based on Pack’s body language, that Pack was threatening him. In that letter, he called for disciplinary action against Pack.

In the weeks since those e-mails were sent, Hitchcock e-mailed Pack to get his version of the altercation with Remus, but Pack had been on vacation. Hitchcock, did however have a copy of Pack’s e-mail detailing his version of events. No meeting between Pack or any CHCA officer occurred between the Nov. 20 board meeting and Dec. 29.

Although Pack’s complaint was available to the association’s officers and several other board members at the Dec. 18 meeting, during which the board voted to fire Pack, board members asked by the Local said the matter was not discussed. They also said that Pack’s altercation with Remus was not one of the examples of alleged misbehavior cited as a cause for termination.

Pack worked at the Local for nearly 11 years as a graphic designer, writer and photographer.