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Monroeville police chief takes short-term disability

About Kyle Lawson
Picture Kyle Lawson 412.856.7400 x8755
Staff Reporter
Times Express

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Notable events

Here is a timeline of notable Monroeville police events:

• August 2012: Then-assistant police Chief Steve Pascarella files complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claiming that unauthorized individuals accessed police information under then-police Chief Doug Cole.

• July 2013: An officer hired in May loses his gun and utility belt on a Pittsburgh highway after placing the items in the bed of his truck after his shift.

• July 2013: A police officer resigns two months after being hired.

• September 2013: McKinney fires Cole and three dispatchers based on an investigation by a Pittsburgh law firm hired by the municipality in response to Steve Pascarella's allegation that there were violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The federal investigation is ongoing.

• October 2013: Monroeville Council approves a new, four-year police contract by a 4-3 vote, 15 months prior to the current contract expiring. Mayor Greg Erosenko's signature is required before the contract takes effect.

• October 2013: Sgt. Rob McConnell named officer in charge after Pascarella is placed on short-term disability.


By Kyle Lawson

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Monroeville police chief is off the job for the second time in less than a year, this time for medical reasons.

Chief Steve Pascarella, 45, now is on short-term disability, officials said.

This is the latest in a series of personnel changes in the police department and Monroeville dispatch center.

Doug Cole, the previous chief, was demoted in February and then fired last month.

Police Sgt. Rob McConnell was named the officer in charge two weeks ago when Pascarella went on sick leave.

McConnell is running the department while patrolling the community of about 28,000 people.

“So, we don't really have a chief,” said Mayor Greg Erosenko, who has argued against the demotion and firing of Cole.

“We have a sergeant who is basically running the department.”

McConnell referred questions to municipal manager Lynette McKinney, who said she can't discuss personnel matters.

McKinney approved placing Pascarella on short-term disability last week for undisclosed medical issues, Councilman Jim Johns said.

Pascarella, who continues to be paid his full salary, couldn't be reached for comment.

As chief, he is paid $119,000 per year.

McKinney named Pascarella interim chief in February, and council promoted him to chief with a 4-3 vote the next month.

Johns said information from McKinney didn't name the doctor who backed Pascarella's disability claim.

However, federal rules governing medical privacy mean that the doctor's name may not be released to elected officials.

Erosenko said if he's re-elected on Nov. 5, he will work to return Cole to the chief's job. Erosenko, a Democrat, is running against Republican John Ritter.

In the past nine months, three different officers have run the department, which currently has 44 active officers and is budgeted to have 50.

Since early this year, nine officers have retired, one was fired, another is on administrative leave, and two died from causes unrelated to work.

Nine new officers were hired this year, although one resigned two months after being hired.

Seven more officers are expected to retire next year.

The Monroeville police budget is more complicated than those for neighboring police departments because of the number of people who visit the municipality for its business district and two hospitals, said James Lomeo, former Monroeville mayor.

“How does Monroeville keep an adequate police force under the budget issues they currently have?” Lomeo asked.

“That's really the big issue going forward.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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