Philly Clout: Turnpike manager rips his bosses in email minutes before retirement

FILE THIS ONE under: "Well, You Asked."

Michael Stuban, a midlevel manager at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, retired on Thanksgiving after a 35-year career that started in a tollbooth.

But before he left, Stuban filled out his exit questionnaire with what he described as "brutal" honesty. Let's just say he didn't give his bosses an E-ZPass.

Stuban blasted the "out of touch" executive-level managers who are "only looking out for themselves" and are running a "rudderless" agency that hires incompetents based on political connections.

Stuban, 58, wrote that he actually liked his job and didn't want to retire yet, but that the last five years at the commission had been "terrible," with "no morale" among workers.

"Giving us classes where we are being told we are not political. That's bulls-," he wrote. "Jobs/Promotions are filled by the politicians, it's who you know, not what you know. Positions created for people who are not qualified."

That's just one example.

He really went off. But it gets better.

Stuban, who hails from a small borough in Western Pennsylvania, sent the email not just to the HR department, but to everyone at the Turnpike Commission. More than 2,000 employees. Basically, the email equivalent of that scene in Half Baked where the guy quits his job at the burger joint.

"Want to get away? Southwest is offering great fares . . . " one Turnpike Commission employee replied-all to Stuban's email, referencing the airline's commercials.

Next up was former State Sen. Sean Logan, chairman of the Turnpike Commission, who apparently didn't find any of this funny. He hit the reply-all button and wrote: "Mr. Stuban . . . I don't believe we ever met, and after reading your Exit Questionnaire, I am grateful that we didn't."

We called Stuban at his home along the Ohio River in Beaver County. It sounded like he was smiling on the other end.

"When they asked for an honest exit interview, I gave them one," Stuban said, chuckling occasionally. "I sent it minutes before I officially retired."

Stuban, who was an interchange manager at the commission, said his former colleagues told him about Logan's icy reply.

"He did miss the point," Stuban said. "If it was an effective company and someone told you there are problems and no morale, you don't have to believe me, but maybe someone should check into it."

One of the biggest problems at the agency, Stuban said, is political patronage. He said relatives of powerful people get hired regardless of their qualifications.

"They hire a lot of people that are dumb as rocks," he said.

We emailed Logan but didn't hear back. As for Stuban, he sounds like he'll be just fine. He plans to do some traveling, catch up on projects around the house and volunteer at his church.

"I'm staying active in the community," he said.

We like your style, Stuban. Have you ever considered a second career in the flourishing field of journalism?

Rant of the week

Marc Stier, director of the "nonpartisan" Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, got a little worked up Wednesday about potential changes in federal policy in the Donald Trump administration.

So Stier took to Facebook. It went south quickly. He posted that he was at a conference in Washington, "hearing about the threat to the social safety net."

He added: "I will never forgive you motherf-s who didn't vote for Hillary or voted for Jill Stein." Stier also chided third-party voters for "your arrogance and ignorance" for not understanding what the GOP has planned.

Then Stier referenced his "nonpartisan" think tank, writing: "Very soon, we at PBPC will be telling you what we can do to fight back against the catastrophe that Trump and [U.S. House Speaker] Paul Ryan are planning."

That doesn't sound very nonpartisan. And Stier knows it.

He edited the post after Clout emailed him a screen shot and asked if he had been hacked. Gone was the mention of PBPC. "You motherf-ers" stayed.

"I guess I hacked myself," Stier told us Wednesday.

On Thursday, Stier issued a more formal statement, saying he'd acted in "anger and haste" after "listening to experts talk about the anticipated dismantling of the social safety net in the next few years."

He also said his "poorly worded personal post" should not be seen as "endorsed communication" from the PBPC.

Donald, r u there?

Speaking of social-media oddities, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli has been exhibiting some - how can we put it - unusual behavior on Twitter.

Morganelli, who ran unsuccessfully in this year's Democratic primary for state attorney general, has been sending late-night tweets to @realDonaldTrump, apparently angling for a job in the administration.

"Pa. most senior prosecutor against illegal immigration waiting to hear from transition. Hope to serve. Met Pres at Bedminste[r]," Morganelli tweeted Trump at 11:49 p.m. on Nov. 20.

Ten minutes later, Morganelli was back, tweeting: "Played M/G at Trump Nat. Met Pres with QB Mark Sanchez. I am Pa. most senior prosecutor waiting to hear from transition."

Two minutes later, just after midnight, Morganelli tweeted Trump again: "Pres-elect sent personal note to my son. I worked with [U.S. Rep. Lou] Barletta and [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach against illegal immigration. Pa. most senior DA."

There are more.

Maybe Morganelli thought the tweets weren't going through? Maybe he's really a first-generation Westworld sleeper host who's on the fritz? Who can say for sure?

Clout reached out to Morganelli for comment, but he didn't respond.

Matthew Munsey, chairman of the Northampton County Democratic Party, said Morganelli is a Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton for president, but "he's further right of the Democratic platform on a couple issues," including immigration.

Our advice, John? Try playing hard to get. This whole please-hire-me-Donald thing is quite unbecoming of Pennsylvania's "most senior DA."

- Staff writers William Bender and Chris Brennan contributed to this column.

Twitter: @wbender99 and @ByChrisBrennan.

Email: benderw@phillynews.com and brennac@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5255 and 215-854-5973