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Whitaker tax collector resigns

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 3:51 a.m.

Whitaker council on Wednesday night accepted the resignation of tax collector Jeffrey Scripp, who is moving out of the borough.

His departure will be effective April 22.

Solicitor George Janocsko said that, by ordinance, council must fill the vacancy within 30 days.

“The only legal requirement that exists for someone to be appointed to the position is that they have to have been a resident of the borough for at least one year,” he said.

Residents interested in applying should submit a letter of interest to borough secretary Jean Warren by April 29. The appointee must be bonded.

A motion to accept a State Pipe contract not to exceed $960 to video by closed-circuit camera a sinkhole at 251 Whitaker St. failed by a 5-2 vote.

The contract was contingent upon a signed letter of agreement that the homeowners would pay half the cost if it was determined to be their responsibility.

Council president Mike Bogesdorfer, vice president Dave Funk and Councilmen Bob Asson Sr., Jack Esken and Al Race dissented. Councilors Ed Morrissey and Robert Lassige voted in favor.

“There's a big hole,” Morrissey said. “We have to do something with it.”

Esken said more investigation is necessary to justify the expenditure.

Warren said the sinkhole runs from the fence line to the street. She said the depth and diameter haven't been determined.

Council discussed the possibility that the hole could be caused by a mine, and suggested contacting the state Department of Environmental Protection and/or the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

A motion to make Whitaker interim police Sgt. Joseph Vrabel a permanent sergeant failed, 5-2.

Bogesdorfer, Asson, Lassige, Morrissey and Race voted against the move, while Funk and Esken approved.

Esken said the recommendation came from Mayor John Karichko and police Chief John Vargo.

“They know their department,” he said. “They are the ones who run it. From my observation of what goes on here, I see no reason why he shouldn't have been appointed to a permanent position.”

Morrissey said he thinks council needs more information about other officers who applied.

Resident Barbara Takacs said she can't believe council declined to promote Vrabel, who was born and raised in Whitaker.

“To me that would be like stabbing Joe in the back for all the good he's done for the borough,” she said. “When he is on duty, that cop car circles Whitaker all day long. When he isn't on duty, I don't see an officer or police car maybe but once throughout the day.”

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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