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Robinson hires ex-Monroeville manager as township's top administrator

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By Tory N. Parrish and Kyle Lawson
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
 

Not only did Robinson and Monroeville start sharing a solicitor this month, but Robinson has picked up the Monroeville manager who resigned amid council pressure in January.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, Robinson commissioners unanimously hired Jeffrey Silka as township manager. His salary will be $83,500.

Silka's qualifications far exceeded those of other applicants, board Vice Chairman Jesse Forquer said.

On March 4, Robinson hired Plum-based Bruce E. Dice & Associates, a law firm that represents two dozen school districts and municipalities, including Monroeville.

After Silka, 46, submitted his resume to replace outgoing Robinson Manager Aaron Bibro, Dice recommended Silka for the job; but the board alone made the hiring decision, Forquer said.

“Nobody was pressuring us to do anything,” he said.

Dice could not be reached for comment.

Silka said he feels fortunate to have landed a job in less than two months.

“That job opened up at the right time, so I'm very surprised how quickly the town could do the search and make a decision,” said the Monroeville resident, who plans to move to Robinson.

Bibro, 33, is leaving to become manager of Hatfield, Montgomery County. Bibro became Robinson's manager in June 2010 after serving as assistant manager for about a year.

Silka resigned from his Monroeville job in January, about seven months after he started.

In a Jan. 28 letter to Dice, Silka said four council members — Lois Drumheller, Clarence Ramsey, Diane Allison and Bernhard Erb — gave him an ultimatum: Remove then-police Chief Kenneth “Doug” Cole or be removed as manager.

Silka stepped down.

Monroeville councilmen Jim Johns, Dr. Nick Gresock and Steve Duncan, who did not attend the January meeting, and Mayor Gregory Erosenko are named as references on Silka's resume.

“I just think the guy's a great guy. … I strongly feel that he didn't get the opportunity to do the job that he was hired to do in Monroeville,” Johns said.

The issues in Monroeville were politically motivated and out of Silka's control, said Samuel Abatta, chairman of the Robinson board.

Silka was executive director of Somerset County Economic Development Council from 2006 to 2012 and manager of several municipalities, including Johnstown from 2002 to 2005.

Tory N. Parrish and Kyle Lawson are staff writers for Trib Total Media.Parrish can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com. Lawson can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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