Upland Borough Manager Greg Grillone, employed by the borough since April 2015, was recently terminated from his position because of what borough insiders are calling a case of political skullduggery, The Spirit has learned.
Borough officials did not respond to several calls for comment, but The Spirit obtained a text message exchange between two borough officials, prompted after Councilman Ed Mitchell texted Grillone’s cell phone, to offer condolences about his termination.
“…How’s the first day of your sanity?” Mitchell wrote Grillone, adding, “…We (will) all offer you great references should you need them. (You’re) a great guy and got fired for doing your job…”
That text, intended for Grillone, apparently went to the borough-owned cell phone Grillone used to carry and was intercepted by Borough Council President Christine Peterson who replied to the message.
She wrote, “Mr. Grillone no longer has custody of this phone as it belongs to the Upland Borough.” She said Grillone “wasn’t fired, we simply choose (sic) not to renew his contract.”
Therein lies the controversy, according to some insiders, because Grillone’s “contract” that “ran out” was a document that never actually existed.
Another knowledgeable source said some on Borough Council reportedly “wanted (Grillone’s) contract terminated,” surmising that the alleged expired contract was a cover excuse for dissatisfaction that Grillone is a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican-governed borough.
According to sources, Upland Mayor Michael Ciach “approached Grillone about changing his party affiliation after he was hired.”
Ciach, who is not seeking reelection as mayor, but is on the May 16 ballot as a Borough Council candidate, failed to respond to multiple phone calls last week seeking comment, but will reportedly serve as interim borough manager.
State law prohibits elected officials from taking staff salaries while functioning in interim positions. To be able to earn Grillone’s $90,125-salary as borough manager, Ciach would have to resign from Council altogether.
Prior to managing Upland Borough, South Philly-native Grillone served as borough manager for Norwood, his home community, and before expanding his finance and management career in Delaware County, Grillone was a finance director for the now-defunct Philadelphia Veterans Stadium that is currently Citizens Bank Park.
The stadium was a multi-purpose ballpark as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex that served as home to the Phillies baseball team from 1971 to 2003 and Eagles football team from 1971 to January 2003. The listed seating capacities in 1971 were 65,358 seats for football, and 56,371 for baseball.
The sports venue was demolished by implosion in March 2004 after being replaced by the adjacent Citizens Bank Park, the new home of the Phillies, and Lincoln Financial Field, the new home to the Eagles. A parking lot now sits on its former site.