Munhall borough manager released on bond

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Munhall's former borough manager, arrested last week on charges that he stole more than $230,000 from taxpayers, was released from jail today in exchange for waiving his preliminary hearing.

Matt Galla, 44, wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, appeared in shackles before Magisterial District Judge Robert Scott in Munhall and was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond, meaning he wasn't required to put money down.

"[If] he leaves, absconds; he doesn't show up, it's $20,000," the judge said.

Mr. Galla's attorney, David B. Cercone, said the bond was offered as a condition of Mr. Galla waiving his preliminary hearing, which determines whether a case should proceed to trial.

"He maintains his innocence and looks forward to demonstrating that at trial." Mr. Cercone said. "Defense will carefully review the extensive financial and auditing records in this case."

Mr. Galla, who has been in jail since April 1, started working in Munhall in 2009 as a part-time clerk and rose to become borough manager, a job he abruptly quit in June. He faces four counts of theft by deception as result of allegations that he overpaid himself by $230,784.70 from 2010 to 2013, based on numbers compiled from Internal Revenue Service forms, bank statements and other external pay records, according to a criminal complaint filed by an Allegheny County District Attorney's Office detective.

Mr. Galla's abrupt departure came as borough council members realized required audits were never completed, costing the borough hundreds of thousands of dollars in regional sales tax money, and that pension contributions likewise went unpaid.

That had Munhall considering layoffs at the beginning of the year to make up the shortfall.

Prior to his arrest, Mr. Galla made his own allegations: that council members approved all compensation, that the borough's books were illegitimate, and that he shifted pension funds at the direction of council members. In social media posts, he characterized the borough government as plagued by bid-rigging and workers' compensation fraud. Council members have denied his accusations.

Robert Zullo: or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.

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