Reade authority manager resigns

Hostile work environment cited for departure

By Sean Sauro

ssauro@altoonamirror.com

Reade Township Municipal Authority is without a manager after Vince Burr resigned his position Friday, citing a hostile work environment created by “certain members” of the authority’s board.

“That’s the only reason,” Burr said of the circumstances that led to his departure.

Burr served as manager for about nine months, and he will soon begin a new job, he said. Friday was his last day with the authority.

On Friday, Burr said ongoing infighting between authority members made his job difficult. Some of those members, Burr said, tried to use their positions to meddle with his work.

“It frustrates me as the manager,” he said.

Burr would not name the authority members whose behavior ultimately led him to resign.

However, authority member Jim Thompson, who spoke at length about yearslong conflicts within the authority, was willing to give names.

“There’s a mess between the (Reade) Township supervisors and the authority up here,” he said.

Thompson specifically identified supervisors’ Chairman Tom Hollis, who also sits on the municipal authority, as a primary agitator.

Thompson and Hollis have long been at odds.

Currently, the main point of contention among Reade authority members is an offer from the nearby Glendale Valley Municipal Authority to purchase the Reade authority for $1 million.

Thompson claims the transaction, if approved, would be detrimental to Reade’s customers because authority funding likely would be used to subsidize state mandated improvements to the Glendale system.

Hollis sits on both the Reade and Glendale authority boards. Thompson said Hollis is in favor of the buyout, but his position within both authorities creates a conflict of interest.

In the meantime, Hollis and other like-minded Reade authority members have allegedly disrupted authority business, Thompson said.

“It’s been really bad,” Thompson said. “They are creating a hostile environment, and it makes it extremely hard for employees to stay there.”

During a Friday phone conversation, Hollis said he was unwilling to comment on Burr’s resignation or Thompson’s claims.

Thompson said Burr’s resignation provides proof of a negative environment. Burr, who handled accounting work for the authority, was a productive employee, Thompson said.

“I was kind of sad about it,” Thompson said of Burr’s resignation.

Despite his choice to vacate the Reade position, Burr had good things to say about the authority’s customers and surrounding area.

“I think it’s a wonderful community, and I think they deserve a water company that is efficient and is prosperous,” he said.

Recently, the authority has operated efficiently, Burr said. But he said that efficiency could decline if the authority is “not overseen by the right people.”

Thompson said he believes Hollis’ and other members’ recent behavior has been an attempt to “make the authority collapse.”

A new manager likely will be appointed at an upcoming meeting, Thompson said.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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