Earl Jann Fired as Executive Director of Erie County Water Authority

June 14, 2018
Earl L. Jann Jr.  has been fired as executive director of the Erie County Water Authority. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
Earl L. Jann Jr. has been fired as executive director of the Erie County Water Authority.

The Erie County Water Authority board voted Thursday to fire its executive director, Earl L. Jann Jr., after determining the terms of his employment contract are invalid.

When asked whether Jann was fired because the new board disapproved of his leadership, commissioners said they would not discuss Jann’s job performance.

“It doesn’t matter whether we like someone or don’t like someone,” said Commissioner Mark Carney. “If a contract is void, we have an obligation under the law to void that contract.”

Commissioners said they have been advised that in most cases an executive director cannot be granted an employment contract that extends beyond one year because past boards cannot bind the hands of future boards when it comes to matters of governance, and the commissioners serve staggered terms. They also said many past contracts given to prior executive directors should not have been approved.

Jann was not the only administrator to have his contract voided Thursday, but he was the only administrator fired. The board also voided the contract for Deputy Director Robert Lichtenthal, though Chairman Jerome Schad said the board would reconvene next week to consider giving him a new – presumably shorter – contract.
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