The Parking Authority's sexually harassing executive director may be gone but the agency's executive staff is still putting hands where they don't belong — in the public till.
But what can be expected of an agency whose former executive director, Vincent Fenerty Jr., resigned only after staff columnist Mike Newall reported he sexually harassed two female employees?
Fenerty should have been fired by the Republican board. Instead, it dismissed his terrible behavior, with one board member calling it "puppy love," and let him walk off with a $227,000 parting gift of unused vacation, sick, and comp time.
Fenerty was so out of control, he didn't even need board approval before doling out raises to senior staff. Maybe he was buying their fealty to the Republican Party, which controls the agency, proving that neither party in the city has a monopoly on abusing the public trust. Add to that the fact that this agency is supposed to help Philadelphia's struggling schools. But it hasn't. For years, it has fallen short of the promised annual $45 million and sent a paltry $2.2 million to $14 million. It also is unknown whether it is bringing sense to the city's parking situation.
But it is certain the PPA is performing its primary function of providing patronage for the Republicans thanks to the legislative bullying of ex-Speaker and ex-con John Perzel who ripped it away in 2001 from city control, which wasn't much better. Perzel stepped away from overt control in 2011 when he pleaded guilty to several corruption charges including using state resources for political campaigns.
It is disappointing that the parking authority's alleged professional good-government executive director, Clarena Tolson, initially denied the Inquirer and Daily News' request for the comp time records. That shows stonewalling at the aloof agency is still the standard practice. Thankfully, she eventually produced the records and tapered the comp time scam, but she hasn't gone far enough. Comp time is reserved for lower-paid hourly workers in lieu of overtime. Did these arrogant executives have even a twinge of conscience when they put in for hundreds of hours of comp time?
Tolson and her Republican board must take back the raises and erase comp time completely from well-paid, salaried employees. That money belongs to the schools.
The next time a board member comes up for re-appointment is 2023. But Gov. Wolf can still ask for their resignations to replace them with responsible people. The board is composed of Chairman Joseph Ashdale, the painters' union head; City Councilman Alfred Taubenberger; Karen Wrigley, a doctor; City Commissioner Al Schmidt; Andrew Stutzman, a lawyer and Russell Wagner, an accountant.