Two former employees of the Allegheny County Controller's Office sued the county and the controller today, saying that they and others were terminated because of age and political considerations.
Stanley M. Kaczmorski was 64 when he was fired early this year, and Carmen Cupelli was 67, according to a lawsuit in U.S. District Court filed by attorney Samuel Cordes. Mr. Kaczmorski, of Ross, had been with the office for eight years, and was a tax, asset and weights and measures manager. Mr. Cupelli, of Wilkins, had been with the office for 21 years and was a field supervisor.
When Controller Chelsa Wagner took office early in January, they were furloughed, the suit said, along with "at least six other employees over the age of 50," and replaced with "significantly younger employees." It said they were told the furloughs were for budgetary reasons, but the replacement employees were paid more.
The complaint said the plaintiffs "were not known supporters of Wagner" during her 2011 campaign, and were indeed forbidden by her predecessor from backing any candidates. The complaint said that firing the employees because of political affiliation is a violation of free speech and due process rights, and firings based on age are discriminatory.
The plaintiffs want their jobs back and compensation for lost wages and benefits, and for suffering.
The controller's office solicitor was not immediately available for comment.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542.