PPA to Fire Vince Fenerty After Sexual Harassment Complaints

Officials previously said they wouldn't oust the PPA director because of his “many, many years of exemplary service."

Philadelphia Parking Authority director Vince Fenerty will lose his job following accusations from two women that he sexually harassed them, according to the Inquirer.

The newspaper reports that PPA board chairman Joe Ashdale said Fenerty has been “suspended immediately” and that he will recommend that Fenerty is fired when the board meets on Thursday.

The PPA was the target of outrage last week when it was revealed that the board made Fenerty foot $30,000 to cover an internal investigation into a sexual harassment complaint made against him in June of 2015. After the investigation, which concluded that Fenerty had “abused his power,” the PPA board sanctioned Fenerty but allowed him to keep his job, which pays $230,000 per year.

The newspaper reports that the woman accused Fenerty of engaging “in a series of unwanted and repeatedly discouraged sexual advances,” like “inappropriate touching and other untoward, unprofessional conduct” during work.

Today, Inquirer columnist Mike Newall broke the news that a different woman had accused Fenerty of sexual harassment in 2006. The woman “alleged that he once pulled her shirt away from her body to try to expose her breasts, snuck up behind her and unhooked her bra at a work party and once sat on her lap and stuck his tongue in her ear,” Newall wrote.

The PPA offered the woman a $150,000 settlement, but she turned it down because she feared retribution. The newspaper reported that she was eventually fired.

Ashdale said at a meeting Tuesday that the PPA had decided to keep Fenerty on board because of his “32 years of employment with no other disciplinary incidents,” Newall wrote. The agency had also said in the past that it was retaining Fenerty because of his “many, many years of exemplary service.” That was before the columnist exposed the earlier sexual harassment accusation.

“That complaint was not filed with our human resources department,” Ashdale said in an emailed statement. “It should have been part of the information used in making the decision to permit Mr. Fenerty to remain in his position.”

Last week, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women called on Fenerty to step down. Natalie Catin, chapter president, called Fenerty “an embarrassment to the city.”

The PPA board will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The six-person board includes Ashdale, City Commissioner Al Taubenberger, City Commissioner Al Schmidt, accountant Russell Wagner, attorney Andrew K. Stutzman and optometrist Karen W. Wrigley.

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