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Sokol steps down from Rostraver fire company post

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Rostraver Township Commissioner Brian Sokol has relinquished his duties as longtime president of the Rostraver Central Fire Company and will no longer serve in an official capacity.

On Sunday, Sokol, who served as the company's president for more than 25 years, cited needing more time for his job with West Penn Power, duties as commissioner, and his family.

Sokol is a 33-year, life member of the fire company.

Assistant Chief Rich Taylor has taken over as the company's president.

“The amount of time I have to put in with my employer, and we're talking 13-hour days, the township time and I have a 17-year old at home starting to look at colleges, something had to give,” Sokol said. “That's what I chose to give up at this point in time.”

Sokol said his decision, which took effect Feb. 14, had nothing to do with the recent controversy about the township's newly-formed $201,000 fire fund.

At a Feb. 21 meeting among four township commissioners and representatives from the three fire companies, Sokol took exception to an email from Rostraver No. 1 Chief Dave Pierce stating any vote by Sokol on fire money appropriations should be considered a conflict of interest.

“People can think what they want to think but there was never any personal gain on my part,” he said.

“Whether I was president or not, I would continue to vote in the best interests of the residents of Rostraver Township on that fire fund. After 33 years as an active firefighter, I know what the needs are, and I know what the wants are.”

“I've always voted in public,” Sokol added. “Like I've said before (to the other fire companies), if you guys want some representation, fill out a petition, bite the bullet and run for commissioner.”

When asked for reaction to Sokol stepping down, Pierce had little to say Monday.

“I'm not making any comment on that, that's up to him whatever he wants to do,” Pierce said. “I don't think it's going to change anything.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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