Munhall residents question council's voting ethics on hiring summer help
Some Munhall residents are questioning the ethics of council's vote on Wednesday to hire part-time summer help in the public works department.
It appeared that council unanimously had approved Dylan Pisarcik, Austyn Ditillo, Cody Perlaky, Brendan Grueser, Norman Miller and Austin Weihagen as seasonal workers at $8.50 per hour.
That apparently included a yes vote by Ditillo's mother, Councilwoman Dana Ditillo.
On Thursday, the councilwoman said she spoke with borough office assistant John Leiendecker to assure that her vote had been registered as an abstention, because she said “nobody probably heard me.”
Resident Larry Rettger called Wednesday's move an ethics violation in a post Thursday morning on his Munhall News Watch Facebook page, which has more than 3,100 subscribers, or “likes” in social media terms.
The post received more than 40 comments, some questioning council's ethics and others saying the vote is not an issue.
According to the state Ethics Commission website, “The Ethics Act provides that public office is a public trust and that any effort to realize personal financial gain through public office, other than compensation provided by law, is a violation of that trust.”
Council president Joe Ballas, who sits two chairs away from Ditillo, said he did not hear how she voted.
“I don't know if she actually voted or not,” Ballas said. “I tried to tell her she had to abstain for the vote.”
Ballas said he thought the motion passed unanimously, and placed a call to solicitor Greg Evashavik on Thursday regarding Ditillo's vote.
“Her vote was not necessary to carry the motion,” Evashavik said.
He said Ditillo will submit a signed statement attesting that she had abstained, which will be included in the meeting's records. He said that should satisfy any state Ethics Act concerns.
Ballas said he was monitoring the audience at the time of the vote because of various outbursts and questions about other issues.
Council vice president Rob Falce said he thought Ditillo voted in favor of all six applicants.
“I don't want any problems,” Ditillo said on Thursday. “I did abstain because my son was wanting to get a job there.”
At a caucus meeting prior to the regular voting session, Ditillo responded to questions about her son's residency and qualifications.
Ditillo said her son lives with her 50 percent of the year, mostly in the summer, and is a good worker. He attends school in Baldwin, and knew about the job opening only because his mother is a borough official. She said not all potential applicants have that advantage. The summer positions were not advertised.
“That's all he wanted to do was make a little extra money for the summer and help the borough at the same time,” Ditillo said. “I wasn't trying to make it look like favoritism for my son.”
Borough officials said the seasonal work never had been advertised in past years except by word of mouth.
Ditillo said the jobs should be advertised to give all youths a fair chance.
“If we would have advertised it we might have had 30 people,” she said.
She suggested sending a letter to Steel Valley School District to inform high school students about future job opportunities.
State Ethics Commission officials could not be reached at presstime.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965.
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.
- Charges held against W.Va. man accused of resisting arrest in McKeesport
- Charges held in McKeesport firearm case
- Wilson Christian upgrades facility
- McKeesport heroin bust nets 1,700 stamp bags, $3,880 cash
- Shootings leave 1 dead in Homestead, teen hospitalized in McKeesport
- Victim: McKeesport gunman told me I was ‘going to die’
- Homestead violence escalates with second day of shootings
- Mon Valley steelworkers rally for new contract
- County shuts down Clairton demolition work