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Harmar promotes police lieutenant to rank of chief

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By Michael Aubele
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Supervisors on Tuesday promoted police Lt. Jason Domaratz to chief, choosing him for the job over two other township officers, one of them a former chief in the department.

Voting 4-1, the board agreed to give Domaratz a two-year contract that pays $70,000 annually. He will earn about $13,000 more this year because of his promotion.

As has been her custom when voting on police matters, Supervisor Kim Toney abstained. Her husband, Capt. Rick Toney, was the officer in charge of the department until last night.

Rick Toney, a former township police chief, and Sgt. John Fechke were the other officers who applied for the position, Supervisor Linda Slomer said.

Supervisor Chairman Mike Hillery said the board was comfortable hiring someone in house. The three officers were the only ones interviewed, he and Slomer said.

Domaratz, 38, of Harmar has been a township policeman since 1998, Slomer said.

Domaratz wasn't present for last night's vote and couldn't be reached by phone for comment.

A standing-room-only crowd attended the special meeting, which happened less than three weeks after news first broke that supervisors were interviewing for a chief. Board members sought to keep their search quiet.

While some voiced support for Domaratz, those who were most vocal questioned why Toney wasn't tapped for the position.

"We wanted to go in another direction with a clean slate," Hillery said. "We think it's the right move."

Resident Lori Seiler told supervisors she would prefer to have someone with Toney's experience running the department.

Hillery said Domaratz has "all the tools and experience" to run the department.

Hillery said supervisors decided to hire a chief based on the recommendation of an independent review of the department.

That review was completed last year by former Dormont police Chief Russ McKibben.

Hillery also used the results of the review to justify substantial raises the township's ranking officers received as part of a new contract early this year.

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