The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 16, 2013

Authority hit with legal bills to defend firing

JOHNSTOWN — It will cost Johnstown Redevelopment Authority some more money to defend its February ouster of former executive director Ronald Repak

Ebensburg lawyer Heath M. Long was named Tuesday to represent the authority in a hearing requested by Repak to dispute his dismissal. Repak contends that he was fired without cause.

Last month, another Ebensburg lawyer, Calvin Webb II, was named as an independent hearing officer to conduct the hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

The authority is footing the bill at $175 an hour each.

Unlike a union grievance hearing, in which the union shares the costs, local public agency law requires the authority to pay for the hearing officer, authority Solicitor William G. Barbin said Tuesday.

Normally, Barbin would represent the authority at a hearing, but Repak’s attorney has informed the authority that Barbin will be called to testify as a witness.

Although Barbin said any time he spends helping Long prepare for the hearing will be billed to the authority, his time on the witness stand is not covered.

“By law, I can’t charge my time as a witness,” Barbin said.

The authority officially fired Repak on Feb. 25 on the grounds that he accepted $133,507.90 from Conemaugh Health System between

April 2004 and June 2007 while working on development of the former Greater Johnstown Technology Park, now Conemaugh Medical Park.

The Conemaugh money was paid through a consulting business called Diversified Development Technologies, which is part of Pittsburgh-based K.U. Resources Inc.

The tech park development also was a primary focus of Repak’s job with the redevelopment authority. His contract specifically limited outside work to projects beyond Cambria and surrounding counties and banned any outside work on Johnstown Redevelopment Authority projects.

Repak, 60, was named executive director in January 1983.

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