Versailles names Roka as new chief
A longtime Versailles police officer has been appointed to head the department.
Sgt. Charles Roka is now Chief Roka, thanks to a 3-2 vote by council, with one member abstaining.
Council president Linda Sheedy said she was upset that state law prohibited her from voting because Roka is her brother, though Sheedy made it clear that Roka was not the applicant she backed for the job.
She said she preferred retired state police trooper Roger Pivirotto, the candidate that her husband Councilman James Sheedy and Councilwoman Cheryl Flaherty said they supported.
“He knows no one from the borough and I feel he could have brought our police force up to date,” James Sheedy said of Pivirotto.
The Sheedys and Flaherty said Roka, who's been a police officer for 33 years, is good at his job but doesn't have as much administrative experience as other candidates. They cited concerns relating to a part-time position Roka has with UPMC McKeesport as reason for their preferring the other applicant.
The borough received a total of 18 applications for the job, Linda Sheedy said.
The councilors were outnumbered by Roka backers at the special meeting, both on council and in the audience.
Councilors Gary Roscoe, Emerson Fazekas and Cynthia Richards voted in favor of hiring Roka. Councilman Dennis Keefe was absent.
Roscoe brought the item to the floor immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Protocol required that he wait until after roll call and other preliminary matters before he brought up the motion again for a vote.
It passed quickly, drawing applause from about a dozen in attendance.
“He's been in our borough for over 30 years and he's extremely qualified,” resident Chuck Hussman said.
Lisa Fleckenstein, Roka's sister and Mayor James Fleckenstein's wife, cited his experience.
“There are so many people who will be so happy,” she said.
Solicitor Krisha Mackulin said she advised Linda Sheedy that she could not vote on the hiring because it involved a direct relative. Mackulin said James Sheedy's vote was allowable because he is related only by marriage.
Roka, who was earning more than $19 per hour as sergeant, will earn $24.14 per hour with benefits, according to borough officials.
Roka replaces Chief William Kruczek, who retired in August after 47 years of police work.
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.
- Animal rights group protests in Pleasant Hills
- Mon Valley region prepares to celebrate Fourth of July in style
- Homestead to make street cycle-friendly
- McKeesport Area students navigate obstacles
- Another Lincoln Way project set to begin in White Oak
- McKeesport council approves sewage treatment plant lease
- Brewster among senators proposing new fireworks legislation
- McKeesport city council OKs Tomovcsik to head fire dept.
- Steel Valley looks for replacements for 2 principals
- Brewster picked for Smith’s seat on Senate Appropriations Committee
- McKeesport woman headed to trial on arson charge