First he lost his car and his parking space. Now Philip Abromats has lost his high-level job in the Corbett administration.
Abromats, a deputy secretary in the Department of Public Welfare, who allegedly berated an elderly woman outside the Capitol complex for parking her car in his designated space last month, has been reassigned to a newly-created post overseeing audits for the agency.
A spokesman for the Department of Public Welfare said Abromats, who served less than six months as the deputy secretary in charge of an office that oversees billions in county assistance funding, has been appointed the executive director of program audits and regulatory review.
A veteran DPW official, Lourdes Padilla, will now head the Office of Income Maintenance that handles programs that provide food stamps and temporary cash aid to the needy, said DPW spokesman Mike Race.
He said he could not discuss the reasons for the reassignment saying it was a personnel matter.
Race said salaries for both Abromats and Padilla were still under discussion.
Abromats got into a verbal scuffle with Harrisburg minister Rev. Norma Kenley-Barber on July 20 after he found her parked in his spot.
Kenley-Barber, 66, said she takes a diuretic for a heart condition and had to rush to a restroom. When she returned, Abromats had blocked her car and gone inside to call the police.
"When he did come out, he said, 'What part of 'reserved' don't you understand?' That was just the way he said it," Kenley-Barber told the Patriot News of Harrisburg. "I said, 'What part of 'rude' don't you understand?'
"Then he called me an a-. He said it twice," said Kenley-Barber, a military veteran and day camp director.
Yvette Long, of Philadelphia, a citizen member of a committee that advises the agency on welfare issues, praised DPW Secretary Gary Alexander for taking action but said she felt Abromats should have been fired.
“Abromats he should have been terminated because of his behavior the day of the parking incident and because of the behavior he showed toward Income Maintenance Advisory Committee,” said Long, the committee’s chairwoman.
She said the committee has had four meetings in Harrisburg since January and Abromats did not show up for a single meeting as the bylaws require.
Abromats’ confrontation with Kenley-Barber was the second parking incident involving an administration official to draw attention since Gov. Corbett took office in January. The first involved Health Secretary Eli N. Avila who in May tussled with bloodmobile workers who had parked in front of the Health and Welfare Building, apparently impinging on Avila's designated space.
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