CLEARFIELD – A contempt hearing for the Clearfield County Prothonotary, Brian Spencer, scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled.
Spencer has been working under an administrative order from both Judge Fredric J. Ammerman and Judge Paul E. Cherry with guidelines listing how quickly court paperwork should be completed. If Spencer fails to meet the deadlines, he can be held in contempt of court.
The administrative order became necessary after a long-time employee in the clerk of courts office was fired in February leading to additional delays in the processing of court paperwork.
In a lawsuit against the county filed by that employee, she claims Spencer hired a friend as the Deputy Prothonotary and Clerk of Court who did “little or no work.”
She reportedly talked with various court officials about the problem but nothing was done. Eventually she was fired, she said for complaining about him. Her lawsuit is still pending.
Spencer appealed the judges’ administrative order in August and filed a motion for stay, which would delay the enforcement of the order awaiting his appeal.
According to information released by Court Administrator F. Cortez “Chip” Bell on Monday, Spencer filed a motion to withdraw his motion for stay, which was granted.
The contempt hearing was then scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24 “in order that the ongoing issues in Mr. Spencer’s office could be openly discussed,” Bell said.
But on Thursday, Oct. 19, “Spencer filed an emergency application for stay pending his appeal with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.”
The contempt hearing was then cancelled.
“First, Mr. Spencer wants a stay. The Judges scheduled a hearing on it, then Mr. Spencer doesn’t want a stay,” Bell said in his statement.
“The only thing we know for sure at this point is that Mr. Spencer doesn’t want to talk about how his office is run, and a lot of taxpayer’s money is being wasted on lawyers for both sides.
“All Brian Spencer has ever had to do to clear up this mess are three things. First, actually do work at his office. Second, cooperate with the Court. Third, cross-train his employees so all staff members can help process all necessary paperwork.”
A hearing on the application for stay pending appeal will be held via a telephone conference call between the attorneys and a Commonwealth Court Judge on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m.
Spencer, who is running for re-election in November, has stated that the “attacks upon me and my staff are not done in the spirit of bettering the efficiency or effectiveness of the courthouse operation, but rather are partisan political attacks aimed at influencing the outcome of an election.”