Longtime redevelopment head quits, cites 'toxic environment'

Longtime redevelopment head quits, cites 'toxic environment'

READING, Pa. - Adam Mukerji, the executive director of the Reading Redevelopment Authority, said he's done everything by the book during his nearly 18 years at the helm, but he said recent events have led him to call it quits.

"The ultimate was the toxic environment, the unfounded allegations and innuendos of the mayor and his administration," Mukerji told 69 News on Monday.

After nearly two decades as the authority's leader, Mukerji submitted his letter of resignation. His last day on the job will be March 16.

Mukerji said he doesn't feel comfortable at city hall, and he specifically cites an incident that occurred late last month, when he asked his secretary to move closed project files from his office at city hall to make more space.

"I asked him to box up closed project files and take them to our storage facility at Third and Spruce," Mukerji explained. "I saw his car and the truck surrounded by police. The new city solicitor, J.D. Krafczek, was asking me at the top of his voice to call [city Managing Director] Glenn Steckman."

"That was blown well out of proportion," Steckman said. "The city controls those documents."

Those documents are still at that storage location.

"Ironically, they were relocated to a building we had to condemn," Steckman said.

The dispute has some members of Reading City Council calling for a state and federal investigation of the administration's actions.

Is Steckman surprised by the resignation?

"It doesn't actually catch me as totally surprising, but I didn't realize it was going to be this quick," Steckman said.

The managing director said he sees it as a fresh start for both the city and Mukerji.

"This may be a great opportunity for the city and obviously a great opportunity for Mr. Mukerji, if he's decided to leave," Steckman said.

Mukerji said he plans to pursue a nonprofit small business initiative when he leaves city hall.

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