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Penn Township extends police chief's contract

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Penn Township commissioners extended police Chief John Otto's contract this week to keep him as the head of the department through January 2019.

Commissioners voted unanimously on Jan. 21 to add two years to the initial six-year contract he signed when they appointed him to the post in January 2011.

Commissioners will determine Otto's salary annually. For 2013, he received a 2.5 percent increase to $92,317.

“It gives the chief a little more security and also the ability to keep things stable,” board President Chuck Horvat said.

Under the updated contract, Otto will begin contributing to his health care costs.

The revision also removes an annual clothing allowance and longevity pay.

Otto, 41, told the commissioners that he appreciated their vote of confidence in extending the contract.

Otto replaced Paul Ronca, who was brought in to succeed former nine-year Chief Mike Mastroianni.

Ronca resigned in July 2010 after less than two years on the job.

Otto, of Penn Township, is a graduate of Penn-Trafford High School and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Last year, commissioners granted him a 10-week leave so he could attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Township vehicles

Three new police cruisers are coming in after commissioners sold off four surplus vehicles.

Commissioners last week agreed to buy a Dodge Durango and two Dodge Chargers for a total of $68,250 after getting a $3,500 rebate for trading in a 2005 Ford Expedition the township owned. The price was approved through a state purchasing contract.

The purchases followed the commissioners' vote to sell a 1997 Ford Ranger, 2004 Chevy Impala, 2001 Chevy Impala and 2004 Ford Crown Victoria for a total of $5,345.

New hires

Two new officers are scheduled to join the police department next month.

Commissioners hired Nicholas Caito and Joseph Lewis, subject to passing physicals.

Caito's starting date is expected to be on Feb. 4, while Lewis is scheduled to start two weeks later.

Board appointments

Commissioners approved a series of board appointments within the past week:

• Zoning Hearing Board: Eric Rinker, Mark Hensler.

• Planning & Zoning Board: Paul Knapp, Donna Muller.

• Penn Township Sewage Authority: David Roof.

• Penn Area Library board: Joseph Burns III and Mary Ann Guesman.

• Police Pension Advisory Board: Ed Sullivan, Larry Harrison and Robert Bowell.

• Vacancy Board: Kenneth Darragh.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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