Conshohocken – Case Study on How Not to Terminate an Employee

The recent firing (yes, we are back to his being fired) of Borough Manager Fran Marabella is a case study of how not to terminate an employee.  Lets review:

  • On Friday Marabella was fired by two members of Borough Council and someone must have called the Times Herald while his seat was still warm because they had a story up quickly. People don’t usually inform the media when they are fired, so we suspect it had to be a member of Borough Council or someone on the Borough’s staff.
  • Borough Council also made a poor choice in regards to timing.  They fired Marabella on Friday, March 14th.  There were headlines in the Times Herald and on stating “Borough Manager Fired in Conshohocken.”  It is a shame that when there was so much positive build-up to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade that they took action that resulted in such headlines the day before. Firing Marabella couldn’t have waited a week?
  • From the Times Herald, “His firing does not bother me,” Griffin said. “There were things that he was not doing right.” Griffin is Borough Council member Ike Griffin.  Did he really just say that about a long time borough employee who was not accused of any wrong doing?
  • Lets compare Griffin’s comment to that of Borough Council member Matt Ryan on’s Facebook page, “When Fran was hired the borough was in a weak financial situation. We needed an accounting expert with management experience to lead audits and restructure the boroughs financials. He was a great selection and did a fantastic job at cleaning up the books. The borough is in a much stronger position in a large part due to Fran. I believe council felt that the borough has a different set of hurdles to tackle over the next decade and it was time to make a change.
  • Marabella deserves an apology from Griffin.
  • Was it too much trouble to write a paragraph explaining the firing and wishing Marabella well?  Ryan’s statement above would have worked fine.
  • The initial reporting was that Marabella was fired. was then told on Tuesday night by Ryan that Marabella was in fact going to resign and the agenda for last night’s Borough Council meeting reflected that they would accept his resignation.  However, when that agenda item came up, the vote was on the “dismissal” of Fran Marabella.  After the meeting we asked Ryan if the word “dismissal” meant that he was indeed fired.  He said yes.  So why the changing story?  While there was unanimous agreement to make a change, it appears there was some disagreement on how it was handled.

And there you have it.