ShareThis Page

Irwin discusses affordability, size of police department

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Though Irwin Council has given the go-ahead to start looking for new full-time police officers in the borough, some officials who are unhappy with the decision say there might not be enough money in next year's budget to pay for them.

Council voted 4-3 earlier this month to authorize manager Mary Benko to advertise for police officer applicants.

Robert Wayman, Phylis Theim, Joanna Jordan and Peggie Watson voted in favor. John Cassandro, Deborah Kelly and Gail Macioce were opposed.

At the same meeting, police Chief Roger Pivirotto — who has urged council to move toward a force made up primarily of full-time officers — announced that one of his part-time officers was leaving for a full-time job in Trafford.

Pivirotto has suggested hiring retired officers for part-time positions because they are less likely to leave when there are full-time openings at other departments.

In addition to the chief, the borough has two full-time and six part-time officers.

Macioce did not dismiss the idea of advertising for full-time police candidates but said she prefers that it be done after the money has been earmarked.

“I'm not saying it's not a good idea,” she said. “But there are a lot of things that are good ideas that we can't afford.”

The councilwoman said a “rough” estimate of the cost to hire a full-time officer is about $66,000 a year, which includes salary, health insurance, uniform allowance and the borough's portion of contributions to Social Security and unemployment insurance.

“I just want to be on the record that I am not against this,” she said. “But this is a big number, and we have a responsibility to our constituents to make sure that five years down the road this isn't something we regret.”

Wayman responded to Macioce's numbers by saying that hiring a full-time officer would enable the borough to eliminate two part-time positions, which cost about $48,000.

“So it would be $48,000 off the $66,000,” Wayman said.

However, Macioce said, the department might not be able to schedule police coverage if the part-time roster is trimmed.

Cassandro said he doesn't currently support the measures because he's worried borough officials might be asking applicants to waste their time applying for jobs that might not be available.

“If we look at the numbers and decide we can't afford it, then we've put a lot of people through a lot of trouble for nothing,” he said.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.