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Cecil police chief on paid leave pending investigation of account for sting operations

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 4:03 p.m.
 

Cecil officials this week placed their longtime police chief on paid administrative leave pending an independent investigation and audit of a federal account used to pay for sting operations.

“There is nothing I could say at this point about any funds not being accounted for,” said Phillip Binotto, a Cecil resident and labor lawyer with Eckert Seamans hired to look into the matter. “This should not be construed in any way that is negative.”

Township supervisors on Monday unanimously placed John Pushak, 63, on paid leave at Binotto's recommendation.

“It was for his protection as well as the township's,” said Binotto, adding that his investigation could be completed within two weeks.

Pushak joined the Cecil department in 1974. He could not be reached for comment.

Capt. Sean Bukovinsky will serve as officer-in-charge indefinitely.

Township Manager Donald Gennuso said he could not comment. He referred questions to solicitor John Smith and Supervisor Chairman Thomas Casciola. Neither returned messages for comment.

District Attorney Eugene Vittone said Binotto and Smith briefly met with him last week.

“Nobody brought any wrongdoing to my attention,” Vittone said. “Certainly, nobody has said there is any money missing from this account or anything.”

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment, spokeswoman Margaret Philbin said.

Binotto said he believes the federal account is audited annually. He could not say what brought about the need for increased scrutiny this time.

“There was some concern, and the township asked me to look into it,” Binotto said. “I'm not looking into why that concern came about.”

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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