Gilpin officials cleared in police office break-in
By Jodi Weigand
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
The Gilpin officials involved in a reported Nov. 26 burglary at the township building have been cleared of any wrongdoing, township solicitor James Favero said on Monday.
The incident occurred when it was discovered that Officer-in-charge Ralph Varatto hadn't returned all keys following his suspension the day before.
In a text message sent well before that day, police Chief Dan Clark asked why supervisors broke into the police office and saw classified information.
About 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the township's clerk-treasurer, a police officer and board of supervisors Chairwoman Janine Remaley were present when the department door was forcibly opened.
“We stood by our actions and it was found we did nothing wrong,” Remaley said.
Favero said the Armstrong County District Attorney's Office and the state police are finishing an inventory of the Gilpin Police Department's evidence locker, which is being conducted to rule out any allegations.
Three days after the burglary call, supervisors held a special meeting and voted to suspend Clark.
Varatto and Clark remain suspended without pay, Remaley said.
Probationary part-time Officer Walter Scratchard requested that the board increase his and another new officer's salary from $13 per hour to $15.50, the rate that part-time officers receive after a one-year probationary period.
The township is patrolled by state police and three part-time officers, one of whom has been with the township for 10 years, Remaley said. They were given permission to work additional hours following Varatto's and Clark's suspensions, she said.
Remaley said a decision on pay would be made by the board during its Jan. 6 reorganization meeting, when a new member will be sworn in and board leadership will be chosen.
“That decision will be up to the new board,” she said.
The township is accepting applications for part-time police officers through Jan. 6. Supervisors said they intend to hire two or three part-time officers to increase coverage.
Remaley said the current officers also work in other municipalities.
“They are providing coverage to the best that their other schedules allow,” Remaley said.
In other business, supervisors passed a 2014 budget with no tax increase.
Millage will remain at 6.25 mills. The $675,000 spending plan is about the same as this year.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski car dealers ready for thaw
- Man to face DUI-homicide trial for Route 28 wreck
- Steelers score with Springdale fundraiser
- Oakmont Bakery owner eyes expansion
- Charges against police chief have Springdale mayor crying foul