Jon Campisi Feb. 11, 2014, 7:26am


The former top administrator of a Chester County municipality is alleging

his termination was racially motivated.

Harry G. Walker, III, who was hired as the city manager of Coatesville, Pa. back in 2006, claims in a newly filed civil suit that his termination in early February 2010 was discriminatory in nature.

Walker, who is black, says after city council fired him from his position, the governing body hired a white man, Wayne G. “Ted” Reed, to take the plaintiff’s place.

According to the complaint, which was filed on Feb. 7 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by Birchrunville, Pa. attorney Mark S. Scheffer, Walker had signed a contract with the city stating that if he were removed from his position without cause, the city would still pay Walker his salary and health benefits for a period of six months following the termination.

The city, however, allegedly violated that contract when it refused to offer termination pay to the plaintiff, the lawsuit states.

The city argued that it terminated Walker for “just cause” as a result of alleged mismanagement and breach of duties, and that the plaintiff was an “employee at will” and that the contract he signed was void and entered into without any legal authority or effect.

Walker asserts that the city’s claim that it had just cause to fire him is pretextual.

The complaint alleges that the city had paid termination pay to Walker’s predecessor, a white man named Jean Krack, who had entered into a similar contract and engaged in mismanagement and breach of duties that were “egregious compared to those alleged with regard to Plaintiff.”

The lawsuit accuses the City of Coatesville of discriminating against Walker on the basis of race and of violating the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“Defendant’s racially discriminatory actions against Plaintiff were taken by Defendant’s City Council, and said racially discriminatory actions were taken legally and factually pursuant to a pattern or practice of racial discrimination,” the lawsuit reads.

Walker says he incurred earnings losses, a loss of earning capacity, loss of benefits, attorney’s fees and costs, and that he experienced pain and suffering, emotional anguish and a loss of life’s pleasures as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Walker seeks an unspecified number of compensatory damages along with past and future wages, pension and lost benefits.

He also demands attorney’s fees and litigation costs as well as damages for pain and suffering, humiliation, injury to reputation and emotional upset.

 

The federal case number is 2:14-cv-00853-ER.

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