The newly chosen executive director of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has withdrawn his position after questions surfaced over his termination from a previous job.
"The PWSA Board has accepted the withdrawal of Dr. K. Charles Griffin to become its next executive director," officials said in a statement. "The Board is presently evaluating options for next steps in the search for a candidate to fill the position on a permanent basis."
Media reports found Griffin was terminated from his post as general manager of the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority without explanation in January 2013. The Beaufort-Jasper position, which manages 37,000 accounts comprising 150,000 residents, was not listed on a lengthy biography released by the PWSA on Thursday. Griffin told PWSA he resigned.
PWSA initially defended Griffin in a statement, saying he "provided a full resume detailing all of his positions, educational and professional achievements dating back 25 years. In addition to checking references he provided, all of which were very positive, the Authority commissioned an independent background check which cleared. We have discussed with Dr. Griffin the circumstances around his departure from one of the positions, and he has advised us that he resigned."
The statement was prompted by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who demanded full accountability from the PWSA board regarding the vetting and hiring process.
"If there are any errors or inconsistencies, the public deserves immediate and full disclosure from the Board and Dr. Griffin, including a complete and detailed explanation of the circumstances regarding any possible error or omission," Peduto said in a statement Thursday.
PWSA supplies water and sewer services to around 300,000 customers in the Pittsburgh area.
Griffin formerly served as the long-time director of the largest water authority in Mississippi, and comes to Pittsburgh from King William County near Richmond, Va., where, according to its website, he was appointed county administrator in April 2015.
Donahoe said he'll remain as the interim executive director until Aug. 31.
PWSA staff and board members declined requests for comment. Griffin did not respond to a request for an interview.