The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s revocation of its proposed $220,000 payment to its recently retired executive director corrects a mistake it never should have made. But the agency still owes the public an explanation as to why it thought it needed to pay off Carl Roe to avoid a wrongful-termination lawsuit in the first place.
Roe had a $121,116 salary as executive director. He threatened to sue if fired but cashed out before that could happen, retiring Jan. 17 with a $29,236 annual state pension and an $89,926 lump-sum payment representing his pension contributions — plus interest.
Pressure from Gov. Tom Corbett and legislative leaders changed the Game Commission’s mind about the $220,000, which a top administration lawyer had called an “improper severance payment” that would violate the state’s administrative code. The agency clung hard to its stance that paying Roe to go away quietly was a necessary “settlement agreement in lieu of litigation.”
The fact that Roe was an “at-will” employee would have given the commission a strong legal argument had he sued after being fired. That makes its decision to enter into the $220,000 deal with him all the more puzzling.
Answers aren’t an “option” in this cavalier misuse of public dollars; transparency requires them.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review