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Westmoreland

Irwin hires fired North Huntingdon cop

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 11:30 p.m.
Former North Huntingdon Township police officer William Sombo works with K-9 officer 'Colt' in October 2013.
Lillian DeDomenic
Former North Huntingdon Township police officer William Sombo works with K-9 officer 'Colt' in October 2013.

A former North Huntingdon police officer fired four years ago will soon start patrolling in Irwin after council members hired him to work part time.

Irwin police Chief Roger Pivirotto recommended William Sombo of North Huntingdon for the job. No one at this week's meeting raised concerns about Sombo's termination from North Huntingdon.

“We see what kind of politics played into that,” council President Rick Burdelski said of Sombo's firing in April 2014.

“I'm very pleased to get an experienced officer,” Pivirotto said.

He said he reviewed an arbitrator's opinion on the firing, and there was no indication of any criminal conduct by Sombo, who had been a North Huntingdon officer for about 30 years.

North Huntingdon officials did not reveal why they fired Sombo. Then-Chief Andrew Lisiecki said an officer, whom he did not identify, was undermining his authority and causing a division in the department.

Lisiecki in March 2014 asked commissioners to fire an unnamed officer for allegedly causing dissension within the department. Commissioners fired Lisiecki in September 2016. Sombo was a candidate to replace him.

“I would have handled it quite differently,” Pivirotto said, referring to situation that led to Sombo's firing.

Sombo will be paid $12 per hour while on probation, which could last up to one year, Pivirotto said. The chief said he could ask Mayor William Hawley to remove Sombo from probation prior to one year of service. He then would be paid about $18.50 an hour, Pivirotto said.

As a part-time officer, Sombo's hours will be flexible and could be up to 40 hours a week, Pivirotto said. Sombo already works as a part-time officer in Elizabeth, he said.

The chief also was given the authority to advertise for a full-time police officer position.

The hiring process could take about four months, as it involves a written exam, oral test and physical examination. The tests would come from a third party, Pivirotto said.

Sombo could apply for the full-time job, Pivirotto said.

Sombo did not attend the meeting. He could not be reached for comment.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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