Water authority former executive sues over firing

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A former top-level Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority executive sued that agency late Wednesday, claiming his contract was breached and due process rights denied when he was fired in September.

Stephen T. Simcic, of Lawrenceville, joined the authority in 2001, according to the lawsuit, and became finance director in 2009.

After Michael Kenney resigned from the post of executive director in 2010, according to the complaint, Mr. Simcic agreed to become acting co-director, along with Tom Palmosina.

In July, the authority chose an interim executive director, James L. Good, of Veolia Water North America. According to the complaint, Mr. Simcic was assured privately and through public statements that he would continue to serve as finance director.

Mr. Good, however, terminated Mr. Simcic in September, telling him it was a "not for cause" firing, and giving him no opportunity to appeal to a Steering Committee that includes three board members, according to the complaint.

"The decision to terminate his employment was made in secret, and the deliberations leading up to the decision to terminate his employment were conducted in secret," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit demands Mr. Simcic he be returned to his job with back pay, benefits, interest, compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

In addition to the authority, board steering committee members state Rep. Dan Deasy, city Councilman Patrick Dowd and city finance director Scott Kunka are named as defendants.

"I think the fact that there's a lawsuit is unfortunate for both Steve and the authority," said Mr. Dowd, declining to comment on the specifics. Mr. Deasy declined comment, and Mr. Kunka could not be reached for comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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