Irwin police chief Pocsatko is fired
Irwin police Chief Joe Pocsatko was fired by council during a special meeting last week.
Council president John Cassandro declined to comment on specific reasons for Pocsatko's termination and deferred questions to Solicitor Larry Kerr.
Kerr declined to discuss the case and deferred questions to Gretchen Love, an employment attorney with Pittsburgh-based firm Campbell, Durant, Beatty, Palumbo & Miller. Love did not return calls seeking comment.
Love will represent the borough in the Pocsatko's civil-service hearing, which has not been scheduled yet.
Irwin's civil service commission includes former Councilman John Fonzo, William Snyder and Walter Jordan.
Pocsatko's termination was approved with a 6-0 vote. Councilwoman Phyllis Thiem was absent.
Mayor Dan Rose declined to discuss the termination but said he agrees with council's decision.
“I can't tell anything,” Rose said. “But it happened, and it's OK with me.
“I'm in total agreement with council and its actions.”
Pocsatko, who did not attended the meeting, said he already has been in contact with the Fraternal Order of Police and a law firm to file an appeal with the civil service commission. He said he plans to file the appeal as soon as council gives him an official notice and explanation of the termination.
Pocsatko said he felt the termination was retaliatory in nature.
Pocsatko went on worker's compensation in October after he broke his hand in a scuffle with a North Huntingdon man in the police station.
He planned to return in December, but Rose placed him on administrative leave before Christmas, Cassandro said.
Council named officer Dan Wensel as officer-in-charge. He will handle the department's administrative functions, Cassandro said. With the termination, the department now has two full-time officers, and 10 part-time officers.
Wensel declined to comment on Pocsatko's termination.
Cassandro said council has made no decision about when council will begin searching for Pocsatko's successor.
Council named Pocsatko as chief in 2010, after former Chief John Karasek retired. He managed a roster of three full-time and 10 part-time officers.
In 2013, Pocsatko's salary was $44,994, according to the borough budget.
Pocsatko‘s 18-year career in law enforcement includes 13 years with the Irwin police department.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.