Former attorney for Westmoreland Municipal Authority claims politics led to firing

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The attorney who for a decade provided legal advice to the Municipality Authority of Westmoreland County today sued the authority, its board members and two county commissioners, claiming he was fired in January as a result of politics.

Kenneth B. Burkley, of Greensburg, was the county's Democratic Committee chairman from 1998 through 2002, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court. He ran for Congress as a member of that party in 1990 and 1992.

When Republicans took two of the three Westmoreland County commissioner seats in 2011, they told several people that they wanted to "get rid of" Mr. Burkley, according to the complaint.

Members of the authority board, according to the lawsuit, told Mr. Burkley that he was being fired for political reasons.

The complaint characterized that as an illegal firing based on political affiliation, and demanded compensation for his loss of $120,000 in annual salary, loss of bond issuance fees, and loss of benefits, plus reinstatement to the position and payment for pain and suffering.

The authority's new solicitor, Scott Avolio, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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