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Munhall mayor wants manager to return

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 4:41 a.m.

Munhall Mayor Raymond Bodnar is pushing council to come up with a contract that will entice Matt Galla to return as borough manager.

Galla resigned from his post effective at the close of business on Monday.

“He handed me his resignation, and I basically threw it back at him and told him, ‘I don't accept this. I reject this,'” Bodnar told council at its meeting on Wednesday. “You're all advised and you're all aware of the situation here.

“Matt, to me, is the best manager in the county. He is indispensable for Munhall. He knows exactly what goes on. It's going to take anybody in that office six months to find out how to answer the phone.”

Bodnar said one reason for Galla's resignation may have been that his workload was increasing while his authority to make decisions was diminishing.

“There's too much micromanaging by council, by the mayor, by everybody,” Bodnar said. “You hired him to manage. Let him manage. If you want to go in another direction, that's council's choice, but I'll fight you every way, I can tell you that.”

Bodnar suggested a contract similar to Bob Eberhart's when he held the job from 1992-1998. He was given authority to hire and fire employees.

“That's why Bob Eberhart was a doer,” Bodnar said.

Councilman Bernie Shields said council rescinded the manager's authority to hire and fire when Eberhart left.

Galla said in his letter of resignation that managing Munhall “has been, for the most part, satisfying and productive,” but noted that he had become “disillusioned, disenfranchised and less and less satisfied” with his job.

“Attempts at resolution,” the letter said, “have been unsuccessful.”

Councilors lauded Galla's job performance, and said they were surprised by his resignation.

“I want to find out why he left,” council president Joe Ballas said.

Council vice president Rob Falce said Galla didn't express frustration or turn down work that was asked of him.

Councilwoman Dana Ditillo said Galla is an excellent worker, but expressed concerns about offering him a contract.

“I don't like the feeling that our borough manager has the upper hand on us now,” Ditillo said. “If he does want his job back, he might want a bigger raise and we might not have it in the budget.

“He has a job to do obviously, but he wants to take over, it seems. He has enough responsibility that I don't think he needs a contract.”

Ditillo said councilors were elected to be the borough's decision makers, and that the manager serves at council's discretion.

“I don't think every (decision) should be made by him,” she said. “He should be limited.”

Ditillo conceded that some were giving Galla too much work, and said that hiring more office staffers would allow tasks to be spread around.

Council adjourned the meeting to an executive session to discuss the next move.

Ballas said council would not take action at the session, but it must move quickly to get some help in the borough office.

Galla began working for the borough in January 2009 as an office assistant, and was assistant manager when Rebecca Wehrer announced her retirement as manager in November 2010. Galla was hired as her successor that December.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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