In about-face, PPA chief booted over sex harassment

In about-face, PPA chief booted over sex harassment

Vince Fenerty will leave his role as the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s executive director days after it was revealed he was previously disciplined for the sexual harassment of a female underling, reports said Tuesday.

Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) chairman Joe Ashdale ordered Fenerty suspended and said they will recommend his termination Thursday, the Inquirer reported. The about-face came just after the newspaper reported that a second woman also sued Fenerty over sexual harassment allegations.

Inquirer columnist Mike Newall, who originally broke the story that Fenerty was internally disciplined by the PPA over sexual harassment allegations by a female employee, reported Tuesday that a second woman said Fenerty sexually harassed her for about three years. That woman was offered a $150,000 settlement in 2007, but turned it down, and kept her job.

After investing $30,000intoan independent investigation over the other woman, the PPA concluded Fenerty could remain on the job with severely limited powers, including losing his ability to hire, fire or promote.

Fenerty led the PPA in 2014 as they were locked in a war of sorts with scofflaw cab apps Uber and Lyft, including the “sting” operation that greeted UberX’s first weekend in Philadelphia.

A truce was reached betweenthe PPA and UberX earlier this summer, partlyin recognition of legislation expected to become law in Harrisburg this week.

It remains to be seen if Fenerty’s ouster will affect that legislation.

Despite defense from City Councilman Al Taubenberger, a board member, that the harassment just constituted a case of “puppy love” (Taubenberger later retracted that wording) the drumbeat of calls for Fenerty to resign just intensified after the story first broke.

“Since Fenerty’s behavior disqualifies him from leading a major state agency, a fact all but acknowledged by the board when they stripped him of most of his professional responsibilities last year,” said Philadelphia Commission for Women chairwomanFelicia Harris last week, “his continued employment sends the message that sexual harassment is OK, and that the harm caused can be erased by monetary payment. Sexual harassment can’t be written off like a parking fine.”