State Fire Commissioner resigns after harassment claims

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Upheaval over workplace harassment continues at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. ABC27 has confirmed the State Fire Commissioner has been relieved of his duties by Governor Tom Wolf.

A spokesperson for Governor Wolf said Tim Solobay resigned his cabinet position, but would not comment further on the departure.

Solobay, a Democrat from Canonsburg, previously served one term in the Pa. Senate and six terms in the Pa. House representing Washington County.

Sources confirm for ABC27 that a former female staffer in the Pa. Senate lodged a complaint against Solobay several years ago. The woman did not receive a settlement, but sources say she was reassigned within the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Sources tell ABC27 that the Wolf administration immediately moved to cut ties with Solobay upon learning of the harassment claim. A phone call to Solobay’s cell phone seeking comment was not returned Sunday.

After losing a Pa. Senate election in 2014, Solobay was selected as Pennsylvania’s Fire Commissioner by Governor Wolf to replace longtime Commissioner Ed Mann. Solobay, 61, took office in January, 2015.

While not speaking of the specifics of the Solobay case, Wolf spokesman JJ Abbott confirms that the governor has instituted a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment. He has called for several lawmakers to resign their posts amid allegations of misconduct.

“Governor Wolf has made clear that he draws a firm line, especially when it comes to behavior that is derogatory or discriminatory,” Abbott said in a statement. “Over the past months, Governor Wolf has made clear that no branch of government nor the private sector should maintain or perpetuate a culture that allows or dismisses sexual harassment.”

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