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Commissioners consider scope of Penn manager's power

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 7:51 p.m.

Before they can advertise the job opening, Penn Township commissioners need to determine how much power they want the next township manager to have.

One of the main aspects of the job description that commissioners are finalizing is whether Bruce Light's successor should have the ability to hire and fire nonunion township employees.

Giving the new manager that control would be a change from the original ordinance that commissioners passed before hiring Light in 1995. At that time, the board didn't want a manager who could fire someone without their consent, solicitor Les Mlakar said.

“You can do that ... but you are delegating that right to a person who is under you,” Mlakar said.

Under the existing job duties, the manager may recommend discipline, suspension or discharge of a township employee, but the commissioners retain the ability to act on employee matters.

Commissioner Paul Wersing said he doesn't like the idea of giving the manager that power, but Commissioner Larry Harrison gave an example of the importance of removing an employee accused of stealing or sexual harassment from the workforce immediately.

Officials last week said that four nonunion employees report to Light.

Commissioners plan to resume discussion about updating the ordinance for the manager's duties at their Oct. 16 meeting.

Light intends to retire in May.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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