Ex-employee of Redevelopment Authority of Fayette County sues over layoff

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A former employee of the Redevelopment Authority of Fayette County sued that agency and three of its top employees late Wednesday, claiming he was laid off because he complained of favoritism in a program for providing new furnaces.

In his complaint in U.S. District Court, Michael J. Volek, of Point Marion, said he was hired in 2008 and laid off six months ago. His job was to visit homes and decide whether they would benefit from weatherization help, potentially including new furnaces.

In October 2011, according to the lawsuit, he complained to a Pennsylvania official that the authority "gave preferential treatment to friends and/or family members of [its] employees who were on the waiting list to receive assistance" including furnaces.

According to the complaint, that was followed by an investigation of the authority by the state Office of Inspector General, with which he cooperated.

He was compelled in April to train his replacement, and laid off in May, ostensibly because of budget constraints, according to the complaint.

The layoff was really based on his exercise of free speech rights, and so violated federal law, according to the complaint.

Authority officials said they had not yet read the complaint and therefore could not comment.

breaking - neigh_south

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


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