State says Armenti was fired 'for cause' from Cal U
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Former California University of Pennsylvania President Angelo Armenti Jr. was fired for cause, the State System of Higher Education said today for the first time since his dismissal.
A brief statement released late this afternoon appears to indicate that Mr. Armenti will forfeit most of the two years of salary that would have accrued to him under his presidential contract that runs through June 2014.
Mr. Armenti's annual salary was $227,160.
"Dr. Angelo Armenti Jr. has received formal notification that his termination as president of California University of Pennsylvania effective May 16, 2012, was for cause," said the statement issued by State System spokesman Kenn Marshall. "The notification was contained in a certified letter sent on Friday to Dr. Armenti and signed by Guido M. Pichini, chair of the State System's Board of Governors, which took the action, and State System Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Peter H. Garland.
"Under the terms of his contract, Dr. Armenti is entitled to be paid his salary and insurance benefits for six months from his termination date," the statement continued. "He also is eligible for all post-employment benefits for which he qualifies based on his years of service. Other than Dr. Armenti's employment contract, there is no other agreement between the State System and the former president.
The statement also says a meeting with State System officials that Cal U trustees had sought tomorrow will not occur.
"The focus now must be on the transition of leadership at Cal U. and on the university's future," the statement said. "With that in mind, and with Dr. Armenti alluding to the possibility of litigation in the future, it would be neither prudent nor beneficial to engage in any additional discussions regarding his termination. Because of all of these factors, System officials will not meet tomorrow with the university's Council of Trustees."
The statement did not offer any further elaboration for the specific reasons behind Mr. Armenti's termination. It occurred May 16, one day before the State System released results of a complaint investigation by system auditors that questions certain financial policies and spending decisions.
The State System has not linked that investigation to Mr. Armenti's departure.
Mr. Armenti, 72, has defended his record and the university's financial policies and said the auditors issued seriously flawed findings that were used as a pretext to remove him.
He said he spoke by phone with the State System's chief legal counsel, Leonidas Pandeladis, the day after being fired and said that since he had been fired without cause, he wanted to know when he would receive his remaining salary. "He (Mr. Pandeladis) said I would get that payment but only if I didn't litigate. If I did litigate, the board would then change its tune and say that I had been fired for cause," Mr. Armenti wrote in a May 21 letter to Mr. Pichini.
Mr. Armenti, reached by phone, said he received no such letter from the State System either Friday or today and was hearing specifics of it for the first time from a reporter.
"What have I done to deserve this?" he asked, alluding to the system's refusal to lay out thus far its reasons from terminating Mr. Armenti.
His 20-year tenure made him the longest serving of the 14 presidents in the State Ssytem.
"I believe there is something else going on here," he said. "I think the board (of governors) can't make up its mind why they fired me and they don't want to answer any questions.
"I think Mr. Pichini was very concerned about having to face trustees and reporters," Mr. Armenti said. "I'm going to suggest to you that if they actually had a cause, why wouldn't they say it? They're obviously not concerned about my reputation. They fired me with five minutes notice."
First Published June 4, 2012 4:58 pm