Clairton wants ex-employee to repay personal/vacation time

| Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

Clairton officials are seeking repayment of vacation and personal time that former city manager/finance director Virginia B. Finnegan reportedly paid herself without council's approval.

Councilors voted 3-0-2 Tuesday night to authorize current city manager/finance director Richard Cannone to send a letter to Finnegan requesting she pay back funds for two weeks of vacation and three personal days.

Councilors Terry Julian, Richard Ford and Lamont Lewis voted in favor, while Rich Lattanzi and Craig Roberts abstained. Roberts said he believes the matter is a personnel issue.

City solicitor George Gobel said the matter requires formal action by council.

Lattanzi said he abstained because he doesn't have enough information about the situation.

Finnegan was hired in April as a part-time interim finance consultant for the city. Julian said she was hired with no benefits to fulfill some of the duties of Scott Andrejchack, who resigned as finance director and tax
collector in March.

Finnegan was appointed on an interim basis to the combined position of municipal manager and finance director in June at $40 per hour with no benefits, replacing furloughed city manager Ralph Imbrogno.

Finnegan was replaced by Cannone last month, but stayed on to assist in the transition. Her last official day of work was Dec. 31.

Cannone said Finnegan paid herself approximately $2,000 to $3,000 during the time of her employment.

Lewis and Julian said council did not approve the vacation or personal time, and were surprised by Finnegan's alleged actions because she was hired without benefits.

Roberts, who was out of the country on business, voted by telephone Tuesday night.

All other motions made Tuesday night passed unanimously except one.

The vote was 3-1-1 to send a letter informing furloughed fire Chief John Lattanzi that the city will pay three months of his Medicare premiums.

Those in favor were Ford, Julian and Lewis. Lattanzi dissented and Roberts abstained.

Council authorized Cannone to lease Mr. Z's Place, a two-story structure at 524 Third St., the former Serbian Orthodox Church, for $700 per floor with utilities included.

Council also authorized Cannone to sell the property at 325 Large Ave. as soon as possible. Julian said the property is a former Pennsylvania American Water Co. building and housed Clairton Boxing Gym. The roof is leaking and the facility is in need of repairs.

Julian said he hopes someone buys the place so that it can be put back on the tax rolls.

Council appointed Raymond Glover Sr. to the Clairton Municipal Authority for a five-year term ending Dec. 31, 2015.

Council appointed Levina B. Lasich to the Clairton Reinvestment Corp. for a three-year term ending Nov. 14, 2013.

Cannone was appointed to the Steel Valley Authority Board for a five-year term ending Dec. 31, 2015.

Council approved a request from Jefferson Regional Medical Center to use council chambers on March 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a free community stroke-risk screening for city residents. The rental fee has been waived. It will be the third year for the event in Clairton.

Cannone announced Jan. 24 will be the last day for comments on a proposed comprehensive plan for Clairton. The plan was developed through Mackin Engineering Co. It's available at , as well as at the municipal building, 551 Ravensburg Blvd., and at Clairton Public Library, 616 Miller Ave.

The plan is expected to be reviewed by the city planning commission in February and could be adopted by council that month.

Gobel said the city received an arbitration award this month from arbitrator Ronald Talarico sustaining the firing of a police officer in December 2009. The police officer was not named at the meeting.

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