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Irwin council deals with police department issues at meeting

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 4:01 a.m.

Irwin council fired one of the borough's part-time police officers and suspended another at Wednesday night's special meeting.

Council terminated the services of Jessica Urban, and put Pierre DeFelice on a one-month suspension followed by a six-month probation period by a vote of 5-1.

Councilman Bob Wayman cast the dissenting vote. Councilwoman Phyllis Thiem was absent.

Urban worked for the borough for less than a year, and DeFelice has been an Irwin officer for less than five years.

Councilors said they would not discuss details regarding the personnel matter, only that something happened involving the officers.

“I haven't had a chance to talk to them personally,” Wayman said. “That's why I voted no. I would like to hear their viewpoint on the issues at hand. I always like to hear a person's side of a story face to face, not in writing.”

Councilors said the firing and suspension are unrelated to action taken involving former police Chief Joseph Pocsatko.

Council unanimously voted to rescind Pocsatko's discharge, reinstate him to his position and accept his voluntary resignation effective Feb. 13.

Council fired Pocsatko at a special meeting in January. It voted last month to approve a settlement agreement with the former chief, which stated that Pocsatko would immediately withdraw his pending request to the borough's civil service commission appealing his discharge.

Other settlement provisions include:

• If Pocsatko applies for unemployment compensation, the borough will not oppose.

• Pocsatko “generally releases” the borough from legal claims.

• Pocsatko has returned all borough property, including keys, computer files and documents.

Dan Wensel was named officer in charge earlier this year. Council has not made a decision on a new chief.

The department has two full-time officers and roughly nine part-time officers who patrol Irwin and North Irwin boroughs.

No officers attended Wednesday night's meeting.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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