From my point of view as solicitor for the Retirement Board of Allegheny County, Jim McGrath, who passed away June 4 (Obituary, June 8), had an amazing instinct for what was right and the energy and determination to vindicate his instinct.
When passed over for promotion on the Police Civil Service by Allegheny County, Jim McGrath filed suit and won his promotion on appeal. Twice he was successful in challenging the Retirement Board with lawsuits, first to get the right of a retiree to serve as an elected board member and then to get the right for a candidate for the board to get the names and addresses of the voters for campaign purposes.
He was then elected to serve on the Retirement Board and later became its president. During my service as solicitor to the Retirement Board, members sometimes dissented by their vote. However, Jim McGrath was the only board member to actually write out a dissent from the majority on a local agency law decision by the Retirement Board. In that case, after the employee lost before the Retirement Board, he appealed. The employee ultimately won before Commonwealth Court, which ruled in favor of the employee for the same reasons as set forth in Jim McGrath's written dissent at the Retirement Board level.
Jim McGrath was a big, burly man. But it was through his big personality and amazing instinct and energy to vindicate his instincts that he was able to achieve so much for those he represented, police officers and retirees alike. He will be sorely missed.
BRUCE D. CAMPBELL