The Chairman of the Aliquippa Water Authority submitted his letter of resignation today amid continued controversies over the authority paying for his college tuition. A second member of the board also submitted their resignation.

Chairman Kenneth Thornton and board member Patricia Grimes both provided letters of resignation to the Aliquippa Water Authority, leading to the cancellation of tonight’s board meeting due to a lack of quorum.

Thornton has come under intense criticism since the board’s newest member, Matthew Mottes, raised questions about the propriety of the Aliquippa Water Authority paying $11,025 in tuition toward his doctorate degree in Global Leadership. Mottes was also critical of Thornton’s attempts at becoming manager of the Water Authority, and of the six figure salary Thornton wanted to accompany the position.

Matthew Mottes, who was just appointed to the board in July, said it was time for Thornton to go.

“I think the Water Authority can now finally move forward in the right direction,” Mottes told the Beaver Countian. “He did not have the people’s best interest in heart, he had his own best interest in heart.”

“As a life long resident of Aliquippa, I just wanted to do the right thing for the people of this city,” said Mottes. “If our solicitor finds any wrongdoing in these payments to Kenneth Thornton, and I am sure he will, I believe those monies should be repaid. I will work to recoup those funds.”

Patricia Grimes’s resignation letter thanked the employees of the Water Authority for their service to the community; the letter did not provide a specific reason for her departure. “I truly appreciate the time that I did serve on the board and it was a true learning experience,” she wrote.

Grimes (who works in the courthouse as secretary of the Jury Commission) had supported the Water Authority’s payments of Thornton’s tuition.

Kenneth Thornton cited the public criticisms he was facing as the reason for his resignation. His full letter to the Board is as follows:

“Effective immediately, I write this letter tendering my resignation as Chairman and member of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa Board of Directors. I can no longer execute my duties under the constant verbal and emotional abuse that you as colleagues and I have been subjected too (sic) these past few months.

“These crass assumptions and malevolent confrontations have become very stressful and challenging. Needless to say, it has taken every possible restraint for me to retain my integrity and professionalism and not stoop to the level of my critics in what has gone beyond the scope of their political differences and hidden agendas. To be clear, I sincerely hope that they have not confused my silence with weakness.

“For those of you that have offered and provided your support and loyalty, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and say I regret that a drastic step such as this had to be taken. It has been my pleasure serving as your Chairman and assisting with the professional development of the MWAA. It is disappointing that as board members both you and I have had to experience such public indignation, however, as Jesus commended both salt and light, you have shown yourselves to be true professionals in the field of leadership.

“I am proud to have worked with you on behalf of the Authority, in meeting and exposing its many flaws and twenty-first century challenges during my tenure. Change is never easy, especially when there is neither vision nor desire for change. Forty plus years in the wilderness has proven that. God bless all of you and keep you safe.”

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Raven
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Raven

Parting comments (shots) played with the Jesus and God cards — irrelevant and unnecessary sour grapes. Better to just pay your own way to advanced degrees and the doctorate the way the rest of us have. That way, you will appreciate them more, other people will too, they will mean more, and you won’t owe anyone for getting you there. Also, they will be in an area related to your work, to improve your competency in that work directly — not tangentially, which yours clearly would have been. Sorry, my friend, but that’s a disingenuous excuse, no matter how you present it, and you should not be exploiting the public coffers to pay for something so remotely related. Some educators do a similar thing, and they go online or part-time for the non-research “Easy D” which earns them the label and a move up, but has little to do with the work they will do or improving their competencies. Either way, rethink the whole thing, go for the Ph.D. and do it right. People will respect you for it, and you won’t be faced with boo-hooing your fate at the hands of “ungrateful” people.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

He got caught, got pissed off and now quits. I agree he was in it for himself. Who needs a degree in Global Management to work in Aliquippa? More like back stabbing/politicking 101. Don’t get caught. The town is flat assed broke and I doubt the water authority is doing any better. Although they can continue to raise rates for their incompetence and nepotism/crony hires.

slim
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slim

11.000 dollars he stole it why is he not in jail.anybody else would b

Brendan Jones
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Brendan Jones

Business as usual for the .gov leeches.

Kathleen Brantner
Guest
Kathleen Brantner

Do they actually think we are that stupid forever ???? I think they really do

WiseOwl
Guest
WiseOwl

Kudos to Mr. Mottes

fairplay
Member
fairplay

Thank you to Matt Mottes and others who worked to bring this to light. Aliquippa has long been plagued by leaders who have been in it for them selves. As great a city as it once was, it still could have been more A lot of money, over decades, that should have went to the greater public good has been pirated away by self serving administrators and politicos. Many of these crooks are long gone , but some are still alive and kicking…and they know who they are. I Don’t know how they look in the mirror. The town couldn’t afford that in it is glory years, it certainly can’t afford it now.

oldwob
Member
oldwob

Right you are, FairPlay! Removing the board members responsible for the egregious waste of authority money is only the start. It is now up to the Aliquippa city council to replace them with more standup folks like Matt Mottes, and fast. The antiquated water system is facing structural and financial collapse. It is a publicly owned resource, so it is up to us customer/owners to turn it around. Regardless of the past shenanigans, shame on us if we don’t step up now and do what must be done!