ShareThis Page

Former Monroeville manager McKinney files suit, claims unfair firing

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Former Monroeville manager Lynette McKinney filed a lawsuit against the municipality saying council's action last month to fire her was “unreasonable and arbitrary.”

The complaint seeking declaratory judgement filed last week requested that an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge determine whether McKinney, 47, legally is entitled to $44,000 of severance pay, $29,000 in benefits such as sick days and vacation days, and legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

Council denied McKinney a severance package because she was removed “with cause,” Monroeville solicitor Bruce Dice said.

But the ordinance drafted to remove her doesn't specify one charge against her, said Forest Hills attorney Jack Cambest, who is representing McKinney.

“We're saying the ordinance is vague and unconstitutional,” Cambest said.

And the terms of McKinney's former contract that address severance pay also are vague and therefore invalid, according to the lawsuit.

McKinney's contract reads that she would not receive severance pay if she is “found liable for (an) intentional act relating to the performance of her duties.”

Her lawsuit said the contract does not state who must find her liable or what constitutes an intentional act relating to the performance of their duty.

Dice argued that while specific charges were not included with the ordinance to remove McKinney, the charges were read aloud at the same public meeting and therefore are valid.

Charges read aloud at the Jan. 6 meeting included failure to conduct evaluations of department heads and failure to provide information about an ongoing internal investigation of the computer dispatch system to three members of council.

Dice cited section 704 of the Monroeville Home Rule Charter that reads the removal of a manager “shall not be subject to review by any court or agency.”

“(The HRC) was passed by the people, not by some council,” Dice said.

If McKinney is denied a court hearing or if a judge rules against her, she would not receive a severance package — according to the terms of her former contract.

After council members removed McKinney, they appointed former Monroeville manager Tim Little as the interim manager.

Mayor Greg Erosenko said last week he is confident that council eventually will name Little as the new manager.

“There's no movement on that,” Erosenko said. “But I'm sure that will change in the future.”

McKinney, a longtime municipal employee, was named manager in 2013.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.