Current, former Leetsdale councilmen guilty of ethics violations
A former Leetsdale councilman and a current councilman must pay fines after violating the Ethics Act, a state Ethics Commission report said.
Councilman Roger Nanni and former councilman Michael Bajsec used their elected positions in Leetsdale to get work for family members, the report said. Both men also were ordered to pay fines. Bajsec declined to comment.
In an e-mail to the Herald, Nanni said “we're not quite finished yet. I was waiting for the final disposition of the case before going public with the whole truth.”
Nanni said that some people “made blatantly false and misleading statements to the Ethics Commission” about him. He did not offer more details.
Council President Joe McGurk said he was pleased with the detail contained in the investigation but had hoped for harsher penalties.
“I was disappointed with the result,” he said. “It could have been stronger.”
McGurk and three other council members ran for positions while questioning those in office in 2011. He said there are checks and balances “in place that should keep this from ever happening.”
“There's also a different feel for behavior among the current council than the former group,” he said.
Ethics Commission investigators said Bajsec helped to get his wife, Sandra, a job as junior clerk in the borough office.
Bajsec served on council from March 11, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011.
Bajsec asked then-council president Nanni to consider his wife for an open office position in July 2010, the report said.
“Beyond that, I don't know what steps they went through,” Bajsec said to Ethics Commission investigators. “I wasn't part of it. … I kept out of it because that's what I needed to do was stay out of it.”
Her position later was increased to full time.
Bajsec also participated in votes approving benefit payments that included health insurance for he and his wife, according to the report. He also was involved in creating new agreements that included a 3-percent wage increase and bonuses for employees, including his wife, the report said.
His wife collected $39,800 between August 2010 and January 2012, according to the report. Health benefits for Bajsec's wife valued more than $15,900 between November 2010 and January 2012, according to the report.
In addition, Bajsec violated the Ethics Act by not submitting a statement of financial interests in a timely manner, the report said. All elected officials must file such documents.
Bajsec was ordered to pay the borough $2,000 and pay the Ethics Commission $1,000, according to the report. He also is barred from holding public office through November 2013.
In a separate report, Nanni was ordered to pay the borough $2,050 and pay the Ethics Commission $1,000. Nanni violated the Ethics Act when his son, Scott Nanni, performed work related to the borough's website and servers.
According to the report, Nanni's son began working on borough-related technology in July 2007.
Investigators also said there was not enough evidence to determine if Nanni's purchases on borough-issued credit cards were not related to borough expenses, according to the report.
Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
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.