Monroeville council member says didn't discuss former chief with interim manager
Monroeville Council member Diane Allison said last week that although she was displeased with former police Chief Doug Cole's performance, she did not discuss demoting him with interim manager Lynette McKinney.
Allison said she wasn't happy with the fact that Cole didn't have a list of ready-to-hire officers to fill vacancies created by police retirements and that she did voice her displeasure about that with former municipal manager Jeff Silka.
However, she said she did not have such a discussion with Silka's replacement — McKinney — prior to McKinney's decision to demote Cole on Feb. 1.
Silka told Solicitor Bruce Dice in January that he had been given an ultimatum by four council members to demote Cole or be removed from his position. He resigned Jan. 30.
Allison said she never has asked McKinney — who was elevated to the interim manager's position with the support of Allison and three other council members — about her reasons for demoting Cole two days after she was named interim manager. Officially, Cole's demotion was labeled as “without cause.”
When asked why she wouldn't have such a discussion at least after the demotion took place, Allison said it was because she thought it was justified.
“Truthfully, because I had no issues with it,” Allison said.
But, she said, she did not discuss the possibility of Cole's demotion prior to the fact.
Cole, demoted to sergeant, has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Allison, the municipality and four other officials in Common Pleas Court.
Section 703 of the Home Rule Charter states, “Neither the mayor nor council nor any of its committees of members shall direct or request the appointment to or removal from office or employment by the manager of any subordinate.”
Brian Estadt is the editor of the Times Express. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-856-7400.