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Hempfield severance agreement revealed

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Hempfield Township agreed to pay its former public works director six months' salary in severance pay — about $37,000 — as part of a separation agreement approved by supervisors last month.

The agreement, obtained by the Tribune-Review under Pennsylvania's open records law, stipulates that Mike Volpe, 59, must vacate his township-owned home by Dec. 31.

Volpe declined to comment on the agreement, citing a provision prohibiting him and township officials from discussing it. Township Manager Andrew Walz did not return a message.

Volpe said he is “actively looking” for a new home closer to Sewickley Township, where he started work as public works director on Monday.

Hempfield supervisors last month authorized the township manager to advertise the public works director position. In the interim, the duties are being handled by Doug Cisco, assistant public works director and superintendent of parks.

In September the supervisors declined to approve a contract extension for Volpe, a 14-year employee whose pact was set to expire Dec. 31. Volpe was notified in a letter dated Sept. 5 that his attendance was no longer required at board meetings for the remainder of the year.

His final day of employment with Hempfield was Oct. 31.

Officials have not revealed why they didn't renew Volpe's contract, calling it a personnel issue.

Under Volpe's contract, he was required to live in the township, and Hempfield agreed to provide accommodations at a township house on Sterling Run Lane. He was required to pay the utilities, according to the contract.

Supervisor Doug Weimer said Volpe did not pay rent.

The home, part of a 17-acre former farm purchased by the township more than a decade ago, was used as office space, Weimer said. The supervisors won't allow the next public works director to live in the house, he said.

Other terms in the separation agreement include:

• Payment by the township of unused sick days at 50 percent of their value and unused vacation days at full value

• Confirmation by Volpe that he won't bring legal action against the township

• A nondisclosure provision barring Volpe and officials from discussing the agreement

• A provision requiring each party to “not disparage” each other “in any way”

• Accommodations into mid-January by the township in the event Volpe's moving arrangements require him to stay in the township-owned home beyond Dec. 31

Volpe was hired by Sewickley in mid-October. His new job will pay about $50,000 annually.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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