After being criticized in a state report, the Erie County Water Authority has fired Executive Director Earl Jann.

An ECWA spokesperson says the board voided Jann's contract Thursday but did not say why.

Jann worked as commissioner for the ECWA between 2011 and 2016, later serving as board chairman.

Jerome Schad became chairman in May.

In a report released earlier this week, the state Authorities Budget Office recommended all water authority commissioners who served from 2016 to 2017 be replaced.

The report calls out the water authority for a lack transparency during that two-year period.

It also criticized the ECWA leadership for approving Jann's contract without fully reviewing the terms of the agreement.

The deal guarantees Jann between $300,000 and $400,000 if he's forced out of his position for political reasons before his contract ends in 2020. The ECWA could not discuss if he'll get that severance package.

He'll officially leave office at the end of business Thursday.

Meanwhile, Spectrum News has learned the water authority hired a law firm to protect itself against local nonprofit news outlet, the Investigative Post.

The ABO report criticized the water board for approving the declaration of an emergency and the hiring of a law firm back in 2016 without describing the nature of the emergency or establishing payment limits.

Spectrum News obtained that contract through a Freedom of Information request.

The water authority's agreement with Phillips Lytle LLP was for "review of the legal and potential environmental issues relating to the Investigative Post publications, and advice, potential litigation and/or negotiations regarding these issues."

The document was signed by Jann, who was the board chairman at the time.

According to the ABO report, the water authority paid nearly $144,000 for the contract.

The ABO says there have been no legal actions since, of which it is aware.

There's no word if this was a factor in Jann's termination.