The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 19, 2013

Hearing will be held on Repak’s firing

Redevelopment authority hires lawyer to preside

Randy Griffith
rgriffith@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Former executive director Ronald Repak claims Johnstown Redevelopment Authority fired him without cause last month after more than 30 years on the job.

The authority maintains the termination was justified and on Tuesday hired an attorney to help settle the dispute.

Ebensburg lawyer Calvin Webb II will be paid $175 an hour by the authority as an independent hearing officer for Repak’s claim. Webb will set the hearing date, authority Solicitor William G. Barbin said.

Authority leaders 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.

But the tech park development was also 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 following the resignation of T. Fred Young amidst controversy alleging mishandling of flood recovery funds.

Outside employment rules were set up in August 2000 after authority board members learned Repak was involved with the development of Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena in Jamestown, N.Y.

That was less than two years after Repak was disciplined for paying a contractor with $7,200 in cash from parking receipts instead of waiting for a check to be issued. Repak agreed to work for two weeks without pay in early 1999 after admitting the “mistake” that he said was intended to speed up work at the Center Town Mall project.

There was no discussion at Tues­-day’s meeting about a replacement for Repak, who was among three employees placed on leave last month. Former administrative assistant Deborah Walter subsequently resigned, but executive secretary Lisa Wirfel has remained on leave with full pay and benefits. The authority board voted Tuesday to place Wirfel on layoff, saying there is not currently a need for an executive secretary.

“They are moving around and adjusting,” Barbin said. “Everything is working out so far.”

City employee Jeffrey A. Mulligan, chief plant operator, has expanded his duties as longtime sewage project director Francis D’Ettorre moved into Repak’s former position.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.