North Side man says Pittsburgh fired him for political reasons |

North Side man says Pittsburgh fired him for political reasons

Bob Bauder
Mark Brentley Sr. said the city fired him in January because he is running for city council against a candidate endorsed by Mayor Bill Peduto.

A North Side man running for Pittsburgh City Council says the city fired him in January from his job as a public works foreman because Mayor Bill Peduto is supporting another candidate in the race.

It marks the third time that the city has terminated Mark Brentley Sr. during his 32-year career.

Brentley, 62, said arbitration panels ordered his reinstatement the previous two times.

He said he suspects Peduto approved the latest firing. The mayor denied that Tuesday and said politics played no part in the termination.

Brentley is running for a District 1 council seat held by Councilwoman Darlene Harris of Spring Hill, who is seeking re-election. Brentley and Bobby Wilson, also of Spring Hill, are challenging Harris in the Democratic primary on Mary 21. Peduto in March publicly endorsed Wilson.

“It had nothing to do with the decision,” Peduto said.

The mayor claimed that Brentley wasn’t showing up for his scheduled night shift. Brentley was promoted and in his new position, had the least amount of seniority, Peduto said.

“As such he does not get to choose what hours he works but is the last to choose,” Peduto said. “He was working a night shift that he wouldn’t show up for. He was showing up for work during the day, but he was scheduled to work during the evening.”

Peduto said Brentley was given three chances to return to work but refused.

Brentley said employees with less seniority than he were on the job, and the city violated his union contract by requiring him to work nights. He said the Pittsburgh Civil Service Commission agreed to reinstate him so long as he signed a last chance agreement.

He said he signed the agreement but stipulated in writing that he was doing so under duress. The commission then reversed its decision and upheld the termination, he said.

“If this isn’t a perfect example of abuse of power, I do not know what is,” Brentley said. “I’m saying that nothing happens in this city in terms of hire, fire, promotion, demotion that the mayor isn’t somehow aware of. I believe there is a strong possibility that they reversed their decision for political reasons.”

Peduto disputed Brentley’s account of what happened.

“That’s not how I was told it happened,” Peduto said. “He was given a warning once. He was given a second warning. He was told to write a letter to the director in order to be able to ask why he should be even considered to come back. He didn’t write the letter, and he wouldn’t write the letter. The third time he was finally dismissed.”

Brentley, who served for 16 years as a Pittsburgh Public Schools director and has run unsuccessfully for various city and state offices in past years, said he has filed a complaint with the Pittsburgh Human Services Commission and is considering other options. He said his case is pending before the commission.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.