Fired Cal U president sues state system over alleged Sunshine Law violation
Former California University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Angelo Armenti Jr. has sued the State System of Higher Education.
The Commonwealth Court suit contends the system's board of governors violated the state Sunshine Act, which says the public has the right to be present at all meetings of public agencies and to witness their deliberations and decision-making process.
The system oversees 14 state-owned universities, including Cal U.
In a complaint filed Aug. 13, Armenti contends the board met in secrecy when deliberating whether to fire him. He was the state's longest-tenured president at the time and was in the process of his annual contract evaluation by the board.
The suit claims Armenti was abruptly fired by board Chairman Guido Pichini – also named in the suit – “without notice or cause,” during a brief meeting in May. At the time of his firing, the system stated Armenti was not fired for cause. However, it issued a letter to Armenti on June 1 indicating his termination was “for cause.” The suit claims the board met May 25 to confirm the firing. But that meeting was not properly advertised, the suit claims.
It wasn't until the system complied with Armenti's Right-to-Know requests that he learned of the process used by the board, according to court filings.
The system has failed to provide proper notes of the May 9 and May 25 meetings, as requested by Armenti, the suit claims.
“The State System operated behind closed-doors and under a veil of secrecy intending to deprive Dr. Armenti of any meaningful information concerning the manner in which he was terminated and the reasons underlying it,” Armenti's attorney, Steven M. Toprani, said in a statement.
“The Sunshine Act makes clear that in Pennsylvania, citizens have a right to observe the workings of their government. We intend to show the court that the state system has trampled that right through deliberation and decision making in seclusion. We look forward to compelling the state system to provide the answers to Dr. Armenti that they have sought to conceal, and we will continue to pursue all available remedies.”
State system Spokesman Kenn Marshall said the agency is aware of the suit, adding it does not comment on ongoing litigation.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Miami (Fla.) gets prepared to take on ‘physical’ Pitt team
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Former police officer who was indicted found dead in Massachusetts home
- Western Pa. dairies get creative to ensure eggnog supply
- Penguins 4th line is showing promise
- Amazon raises bar for other retailers with same-day delivery
- Holiday shopping season off to early start in Mon Valley
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- Mon City man arrested for alleged assault