By Jamie Wiggan
The Crafton council approved its second manager termination in less than 12 months during a Dec. 14 business meeting.
The motion to release Manager Russell McKibben passed 5-2, with councilmembers Fred Amendola and Coletta Perry dissenting.
Prior to the roll-call, Amendola said the vote on the table was retroactively verifying a termination agreement signed two weeks previously without full council consent.
“How was it done two weeks ago without it coming to an executive session and all members of council being aware of it?” asked Amendola.
Council President Phillip Levasseur countered that he had personally attempted to contact each council member before the agreement was signed.
“Given the circumstances, there was support to engage in this agreement,” Levasseur said
After ratifying the termination, council immediately installed Douglas Sample -— brought in as assistant manager in July — as the new interim manager. The motion passed unanimously.
McKibben’s departure represents the latest twist in Crafton’s rocky administrative history.
McKibben was hired on Jan. 6, 2020 during a business meeting where council also voted to terminate former Manager RJ Susko.
The move to terminate Susko after less than 18 months on the job also prompted discord among council, with Perry and Amendola again voting against Levasseur and the council majority.
Sample’s appointment as assistant manager on July 27 played out similarly.
As with McKibben’s termination, Amendola and Perry said Sample’s appointment was worked out behind closed doors without full council participation.
Sample previously fulfilled a six-year stint as Crafton’s manager, stepping down in 2010 to take a position in Bellevue. Before returning to Crafton last summer, Sample most recently served as Ross’s manager, stepping down Sept. 3, 2019.
Ross Township Commissioner’s President Steve Korbel — who also serves as Crafton’s solicitor — responded to media inquiries into Sample’s resignation, saying Sample stepped down from the position — for which he earned $110,000 annually — for “personal reasons.”
Writer Chadwick Dolgos contributed to this story.