Westmoreland public safety director quits after 2 months on the job
For the third time in two years, the Westmoreland County commissioners are looking to hire a public safety director.
After just two months on the job, Brian Jones has resigned, leaving the department without its top executive. The department has a $51 million budget and oversees 911 dispatching and emergency management and response.
“We're in a bind. I'm still shocked that after two months on the job he would be leaving,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas. “This is about as close to a crisis as you can get.”
Commissioners said Thursday they had no inkling that Jones, who earned $76,000 a year, was about to leave.
He was promoted to the lead the department just days after it gained national praise for capably handling the response to the April 9 stabbings at Franklin Regional Senior High School.
The department was lauded for its quick response when a 16-year-old student armed with two kitchen knives stabbed and slashed his way down a school hallway, injuring 20 students and a security guard.
Jones served as interim director after the abrupt resignation last November of Michael Brooker, who headed the department for less than two years.
In October 2012, six months after Brooker was appointed to the position, commissioners hired Jones to serve as his top deputy. Jones had worked for the county's public safety department in the 1990s and was paid $7,000 more than Brooker to serve his deputy.
When commissioners hired Jones to the director's job in April, they did not increase his salary. Commissioners also declined to give Jones status as a senior executive, a job title several other department leaders hold that gives them unlimited vacation time.
Jones said Thursday he would remain on the job through June 13. He declined comment on his salary and job title.
“I have some family matters and personal reasons, things I need to take care of,” Jones said. “My intent is to make sure there is as smooth a transition as possible.”
When he was hired, Jones was seen as the top candidate among three finalists who interviewed for the job this spring.
Commissioner Charles Anderson said he expects a replacement for Jones to be chosen from the other finalists in that search as well as a pool of candidates who were rejected when Brooker was hired in early 2012.
“We have to execute this very quickly,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, we'll have somebody in the job by next Friday.”
But Commissioner Tyler Courtney said the board should be patient in their search for a replacement.
“We're assessing the situation,” Courtney said. “This is an organization that has been taken in several directions, and we need stability out there.”
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 email@example.com.
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.
- ATI workers retire early to ensure pension
- Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley offers free services at clinic
- Upper Allegheny Joint Sanitary Authority continues cleanup
- Woman ‘critical’ from fall on Harmar riverbank
- Judge lets New Kensington Ten Commandments monument stand
- Freeport to address sewage bill deadbeats
- Burrell considers renovating former weight room
- Latrobe motorcyclist killed in head-on crash in Washington Township
- Crash ties up traffic at Routes 380 and 286 in Murrysville
- Freeport sells 2 school buildings for $175,000
- Retiring pastor known for his mentorship at Springdale Open Bible Church