Elizabeth Twp. business manager fired
Elizabeth Township commissioners fired the township's business manager at their regular meeting on Monday.
Aaron Sukenik had been in the position since July, when he was hired to replace former township secretary Malisa Migliori, who resigned from her job one year ago after commissioners changed the township's administrative structure.
Sukenik, who was not at the meeting, previously served as business district manager at South Side Local Development Co.
As to a reason for Sukenik's termination, board of commissioners President Gene Francesconi said, “That's a personnel issue.”
Francesconi was very short with township resident Emil Burak when he questioned the firing during the meeting.
“You're the same people that hired him,” said Burak, who noted the termination had not been included on the meeting agenda. “Now all of a sudden he's no good?”
Francesconi told Burak he was interrupting the meeting and threatened to have township police Chief Robert McNeilly remove him from council chambers.
McNeilly said, outside the meeting, he was surprised by Sukenik's dismissal.
“Aaron was a good man. I don't understand this. It was a shock,” the chief said.
McNeilly described Sukenik as “very straightforward, honest, hardworking and intelligent,” and added he believed he was fired because of his refusal to meddle in police department affairs.
“They wanted him to coerce me into making changes in the department that weren't in the best interest of the department,” McNeilly said. “He was doing what he thought was right and I believe it cost him his position here.”
McNeilly pointed to his efforts to send two of his police officers to the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Ky., for additional training in investigative techniques as one of the issues on which commissioners had pressured Sukenik.
The training for the officers, incidentally, was approved at the meeting in a unanimous vote.
“Aaron was being told they better not go,” said McNeilly, who also said he was stunned by Francesconi's threat to have Burak thrown out of the meeting.
The township hired McNeilly as police chief in 2006. He replaced Francesconi, who was acting chief. Francesconi resigned from the force after McNeilly was hired.
The 4-3 vote to terminate Sukenik was the first order of business at the meeting and came after an executive session. Francesconi, vice president Larry Vota, Claire Bryce and Chris Evans supported the measure. Commissioners Robert Thomas, Joanne Beckowitz and Donald Similo voted against it.
Thomas said he voted no because “I wasn't sure that the action was appropriate and I was advised to vote no” by a lawyer.
Commissioners voted to run an advertisement for three weeks for a new business manager.
Until a replacement is hired, township solicitor Pat McGrail said, “We have staff that is going to cover those responsibilities.”
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or 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.
- Homestead to make street cycle-friendly
- McKeesport Area students navigate obstacles
- Another Lincoln Way project set to begin in White Oak
- Brewster among senators proposing new fireworks legislation
- McKeesport man held for court in BB gun incident
- Replacement fire chief, safety issues to top McKeesport agenda
- W. Elizabeth mulls cost of new garage
- Elizabeth Twp. scraps results of Civil Service test