By Jordan Cohen
A charge of sexual harassment has been filed with the EEOC against MVSD chief engineer Ramesh Kashinkunti.
Chief Engineer Ramesh Kashinkunti of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District, accused of sexual harassment by two female employees, has resigned.
The board of directors of MVSD, following more than a 2 Ω-hour executive session Wednesday, voted unanimously to accept Kashinkunti’s resignation letter effective Nov.
2. A copy of the letter was not immediately available.
The women’s charges, detailed at left, said that after separate job interviews with the chief engineer, Kashinkunti began sending sexually suggestive text messages. The newspaper story detailed several of them, which the women saved.
The women filed complaints with the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September against the district and the engineer, charging discrimination and sexual harassment.
The board resolution reveals that the directors were aware of earlier allegations against the engineer prior to those described by the women.
The resolution states that after the initial investigation, Kashinkunti was “disciplined,” but without explanation.
After more allegations, apparently those of the two women, Kashinkunti “knowingly and voluntarily” resigned, the resolution states.
It adds the district will provide his final 90 days pay of more than $32,000 along with his accrued unused vacation time and sick leave.
Kashinkunti was hired effective Oct.
1, 2017, at a salary of $128,500. He did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.
Richard Hale, board chairman, took exception to a statement attributed to the women in Wednesday’s Vindicator that there appeared to be no follow-up after they advised Hale about the text messages prior to filing their complaints with the EEOC.
“I can tell you that is absolutely false,” he said.
“There were a lot of questions asked.”
MVSD legal counsel Thomas Wilson also revealed that John Nemet, another engineer, has been MVSD “operator of record” since Oct.
15 – a designation previously held by Kashinkunti, indicating the chief engineer’s departure was imminent.
The legal counsel said the board’s action shows sexual harassment will not be tolerated by the MVSD.
“Our policy has been in place for a long time and everyone in the district is expected to follow it,” Wilson said. “That should be made perfectly clear by the resolution.
The women interviewed for the Vindicator story appeared pleased with the outcome, but did not comment afterward.
The chief engineer’s resignation is the latest of a series of highly publicized and embarrassing issues at the MVSD.
Anthony Vigorito, a former chief engineer, was moved to plant operations manager in January 2017 after his inability to secure the required professional engineer certification and a Class IV license. The following July, the board eliminated his position after he was indicted for allegedly falsifying employee test results.
Last December, he pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges and was placed on probation.
Another setback occurred last May when the Court of Jurisdiction emphatically rejected the district’s plan to rebate $5 million to its member communities of Youngstown, Niles and McDonald.