The City of Coatesville's efforts to block the unemployment compensation of a terminated city manager failed in Commonwealth Court on Tuesday.
Responding to the city's appeal of an Unemployment Compensation Board of Review decision from a year ago, the court reaffirmed that ruling, which said that Harry G. Walker was entitled to collect benefits.
Walker, who began working as Coatesville's city manager in May 2006, was discharged from those duties shortly after a new City Council took office in January 2010, alleging that Walker's breach of duties included regularly acting without City Council's knowledge; improperly transferring $469,000 from a trust account; and improperly hiring consultants.
The court decision pointed out that Walker's alleged violations started in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, Walker was not formally warned by City Council that it was dissatisfied with his performance or that it believed that he was exceeding his authority, the court ruled. The decision also referenced a City Council with "multiple varied interests" and members who "appeared at meetings unprepared" and "were at times hostile and uncooperative toward" Walker. "Based on the testimony of the parties presented at hearing, the claimant's actions in the present case do not rise to the level of willful misconduct," the ruling said.