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Unpaid plumbing inspector threatens to sue Monessen

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Buzzy Byron threatened to sue Monessen, questioning the hiring of a plumbing inspector.

During its business meeting Wednesday, council accepted the resignation of Angelo Loulis and hired Glen Godla of Charleroi, both effective July 1.

But Byron, a city business owner, said he and Loulis were the inspectors. Byron claimed the two made an agreement under which Loulis would receive the $1,500 annual salary, even though the two split the work.

Byron claimed he performed the majority of inspections.

“I'm the other inspector,” Byron said. “I've never drawn a penny.”

Councilman Josh Retos voted against the hiring.

“I didn't know this was an issue until today,” Retos said. “I did not know Angelo resigned until today. I thought we had an inspector.

“Why go outside Monessen to hire a certified plumbing inspector? Monessen has plenty of certified plumbing inspectors.”

Byron told Monessen Mayor Mary Jo Smith, “the city will hear from my attorney.”

After the meeting, Byron said he intends to sue Smith, City Administrator John Harhai and all council members, except Retos. Byron said he believed he was next in line for the paid plumbing inspector position when Loulis resigned.

Byron was an unpaid inspector, as is permitted under city code.

Taxes, fees due

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lucille D'Alfonso said there are still more than $300,000 in uncollected taxes and fees.

D'Alfonso, director of accounts and finance, said there are $147,000 in outstanding garbage collection fees. Nine residents have yet to pay their sewer maintenance fees, and 482 property owners have not submitted tenant lists.

“When you take all of these into account, that's quite a bit of revenue not where it needs to be,” D'Alfonso said.

Treasurer Gerald Saksun said the city has collected 92 percent of budgeted tax revenue and 99 percent of garbage fees.

In other business, Councilman William Manus said the Ninth Street drainage project has been placed on hold while the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates an accident at the project site.

Dane Mornak of Rostraver Township-based Mornak Excavation was injured after a portion of a wall fell on his foot.

“I want citizens to know we're not dragging our feet,” Manus said.

Leonard Billy, city streets department superintendent, said the section of roadway likely will reopen in the spring. He said that because of the 28-foot depth of the project work, the ground must settle before the road is reopened.

Project advances

Council agreed to proceed with the city park amphitheater project. Retos opposed the action, without explanation.

The city received a $250,000 grant for the project from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which it matched with Community Development Block Grant money.

A roof will be constructed over the amphitheater. The walkways will be improved and seating will be constructed.

In other business, council:

• Promoted police officers Patrick A. Schmidt II and Christopher Gray to full-time status.

• Hired Joseph DiMascio as night watchman at the city municipal complex.

• Learned the Mon Valley Sewage authority discontinued its suit against the city after council amended an ordinance allowing the authority to build a an overflow tank.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or