Penn Hills council modifies severance clause in Andrejchak’s contract
Penn Hills Council struck a section of the manager’s newly ratified contract that would have allowed him to resign voluntarily from the role and still receive a severance payout.
Council hired Manager Scott Andrejchak last September for a salary of $100,000.
Andrejchak replaced former manager Mohammad Rayan, who resigned from his post in May 2018 because he said politicians got in the way of him doing his job. He intended on returning to a previous position in public works.
A Tribune-Review investigation found Rayan’s contract — approved July 2009 — allowed him to resign without cause and receive “one year of pay and an additional month’s pay for every year of service. That figure amounted to $279,232.
According to Rayan’s contract, “if either Penn Hills or the employee decides to terminate employee’s employment as Municipal Manager without cause, employee has the option to return to his former job as the Director of Public Works … and be eligible for severance.”
He did not return to a job in the municipality’s public works department. Instead, he retired in September and currently lives and works in Florida.
Several residents spoke against the former manager’s payout, essentially calling it bad decision-making to give such a large severance to someone who is still employed at the same organization.
A similar line in Andrejchak’s contract allowed him to receive severance if he resigned voluntarily and council agreed to it. The agreement came up for a vote at council’s June 17 meeting but was removed from the agenda.
During the July meeting, Mayor Sara Kuhn said a similar section would have allowed Andrejchak to resign without reason and collect a severance payment. That section was removed and not replaced with any other verbiage, she said.
What that means, Kuhn said, is “the manager couldn’t just leave for his own reason and then collect a severance pay.”
Councilman John Petrucci said taking that part of the contract out was the “right thing to do.”
“If you voluntarily leave, we’re not giving you money just to bail out. That was the same thing (that happened) with (Rayan),” Petrucci said.
Andrejchak’s contract includes a pay raise that amounts to an annual salary of $115,000. The contract includes enrollment in Penn Hills’ non-police pension plan and a deferred compensation plan through the ICMA Retirement Corp.
For paid time off, Andrejchak received 10 sick days and three weeks of vacation leave, with the opportunity to accrue those days.
In terms of severance, Andrejchak can receive it if council terminates his position. It will amount to his current yearly salary paid in a lump sum. The package includes existing health coverage for one year.
Other perks include driving a municipal vehicle and the municipality covering Andrejchak’s annual attorney registration fees and costs associated with maintaining an active law license.
Council praised Andrejchak for his performance after 10 months as municipal manager.
“(Andrejchak) takes a lot of pride in his job, is very professional and I believe he’s working with the community more than any other manager I’ve ever seen,” Petrucci said, adding in a separate interview with the Tribune-Review he believes Andrejchak deserves the raise in salary, which is in line with surrounding manager salaries.
Councilman Gary Underwood agreed.
“The public has no idea how well and how good our manager does his job. I mean, you would think he’s on 24-hour call because he does his job fantastic,” he said, before leading a round of applause.
Council unanimously approved the manager’s contract.
Andrejchak thanked council during the meeting.
“Thank you for your support you give me and the staff. It’s my pleasure to serve the community,” he said.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .