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Former Penn Hills manager netted nearly $280K in severance pay |
Penn Hills

Former Penn Hills manager netted nearly $280K in severance pay

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, February 6, 2019 12:05 p.m
Penn Hills Manager Mohammed Rayan reads from his proposed 2018 budget during a public hearing Monday, Dec. 4.

A document outlining severance details in a former Penn Hills municipal manager’s contract shows he netted close to $280,000 after resigning without cause.

Mohammed Rayan, 58, who served Penn Hills in a variety of roles for 19 years, officially resigned in September.

Rayan was hired as public works director in 1999 and hired as manager in 2009.

He stepped down from his role as manager to return to his former role as director of public works in May. He did not offer specifics or name anyone involved when he cited political interference as the reason for his departure and said July 1 would be his last day. However, Rayan stayed on the job to help the municipality find his replacement through Sept. 7, when he announced to staffers his retirement. He did not publicly give a reason for his departure.

A Tribune-Review investigation into Rayan’s managerial contract found he was in line to receive over $220,000 for resigning without cause. The contract also allowed him to return to his former role as director of public works.

Until now, it remained unclear exactly how much the former manager received in severance and when those payments occurred.

The municipal document, obtained by the Tribune-Review through a Right-to-Know request, details all checks made out in 2018 to Rayan and shows he received two separate severance checks for a total of $279,232.

The first severance check is dated July 6 when he netted $160,224, the document shows. He received another severance check dated Sept. 14 for which he netted $119,008. In all, Rayan received $279,232 in severance. Around $40,000 of that includes payments from Rayan’s deferred compensation “special pay” and longevity benefits.

His managerial contract – approved July 2009 – included the benefits and detailed the terms under which he could receive severance.

According to the 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.”

In all, Rayan’s 2018 income from Penn Hills – including severance and other payments – totaled $556,934 before taxes, according to the municipal document. He netted $387,218.

Council budgeted $533,205 for the entire administrative office of Penn Hills in 2018. Those funds included salaries for three full-time employees, a part-time position and various other expenses such as office supplies and furniture, travel expenses and cell phones.

Rayan, who began working as deputy director of public works for the City of Palmetto, Fla., in October, did not respond to a request for comment.

Manager Scott Andrejchak said Rayan did not get a pension package — for his role as manager and public works director — as part of his separation with the municipality, which would have amounted to much more than the severance he received.

“It was a voluntary separation, as are any other retirements that have ever taken place in any public employer,” Andrejchak said in an email.

Questions related to Rayan’s severance went unanswered by Mayor Sara Kuhn and council members Gary Underwood, Catherine Sapp and Mark Brodnicki.

Kuhn, who was part of council when it approved Rayan’s managerial contract in 2009, has said Rayan’s severance was a “smart business move on his part” and offered him job security.

Rayan replaced Manager Terry Van Horne in 2009 and ended a streak of managers who served short terms ending with resignation or termination.

Councilman John Petrucci, who recently announced his bid for mayor, said: “He took the money and moved to Florida. It’s a done deal and there’s nothing we can do to bring it back.”

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 724-850-1298, or via Twitter .

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