Allegheny County public works director resigns

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Allegheny County will look for a new director for its public works department, following the departure Wednesday of Steven W. Johnson.

“Moving forward, we intend to post the director’s position and to go through a thoughtful and deliberate process to identify the right candidate for this job,” William McKain, the county manager, said in a statement.

The county, which does not comment on personnel matters, confirmed Thursday that Mr. Johnson was no longer a county employee but did not describe the circumstances surrounding his departure.

County Councilman Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin, chairman of council’s public works committee, said he learned from county Executive Rich Fitzgerald Wednesday that Mr. Johnson had resigned.

Asked if it was accurate to describe his departure as a resignation, Mr. Johnson said in a brief phone interview: "That is correct."

But as for why he had resigned and what was next for him, Mr. Johnson said he had no comment.

Mr. Macey said he did not know the reason for the resignation and said Thursday afternoon that he had not spoken with Mr. Johnson.

"I think he was a great guy, and we certainly had a good rapport, and he'll be missed," Mr. Macey said.

Joseph Rossi Jr., president of Teamsters Local 249 whose members include public works employees, said Thursday he was aware of Mr. Johnson’s departure but also did not know the reasons for it.

“I was surprised,” he said.

Mr. Johnson became the county’s public works director March 4, 2013. His salary was $102,318, according to a county spokeswoman.

Mr. McKain said in a statement that Deputy Director Stephen G. Shanley has been named the department’s interim director.

The public works department, with a $26 million operating budget, has responsibility for engineering, construction, roads, bridges and parks maintenance work within the county.

Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707. First Published July 23, 2014 8:00 PM

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