Cecil police chief resigns; captain promoted
Cecil has a new police chief for the first time in nearly four decades.
Supervisors in the Washington County municipality on Monday unanimously accepted the resignation and retirement of Chief John Pushak, who spent the last month on paid leave pending an investigation of a department account.
Supervisors voted to promote Capt. Sean Bukovinsky to chief, effective immediately. Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden cast the only dissenting vote, saying she wanted Bukovinsky to agree to move into the township.
“This has been my life's work. I do not make this decision lightly or without much thought,” Pushak, 63, wrote in a letter read by Supervisor Chairman Thomas Casciola. “The board can be certain my decision is irrevocable.”
Pushak's departure was effective March 5, the day he was placed on administrative leave. Pushak, who joined Cecil police in 1974, did not attend the meeting.
The issue that led to Pushak's departure involved a township account related to the federal Department of Justice's asset forfeiture program, said Phillip Binotto, a Cecil resident and labor lawyer with Eckert Seamans hired to lead a special investigation and audit. Money from the account is to be used to pay for sting operations and police equipment.
He presented his findings on Monday to township officials in a closed meeting.
“There was some discrepancy,” Binotto said. “There were unauthorized withdrawals and unauthorized deposits.”
The amount in question was less than $10,000, Binotto said.
“All of the funds have now been accounted for, and there are no missing funds,” he said. “The township has been made whole.”
Binotto did not provide details of how the money was replaced.
He and township solicitor John Smith met with District Attorney Eugene Vittone before the meeting. There was no immediate indication of any possible criminal charges in the case.
Pushak brought the matter concerning irregularities in the account to the township's attention, Casciola said.
Binotto added that Pushak cooperated fully with his investigation.
“He answered each and every question,” Binotto said. “He did not try to hinder the investigation in any way.”
Cowden recommended and fellow supervisors agreed that Pushak should not be hired for any township positions.
More than 80 people attended the meeting, including more than a dozen current and former Cecil police officers and Bukovinsky's family.
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Penguins see Stars, blanked by Dallas in opening game
- Steelers quarterback Vick getting more acquainted with offense
- Police: Woman, 18, pretended to be student, assaulted Perry principal
- Starkey: Pirates gaining bad big-game rep
- Guns, drugs recovered during raid in Wilkinsburg
- Kennametal HQ relocation rankles Westmoreland County business leadership
- Pirates notebook: Fastball command issues hurt Cole against Cubs
- Steelers hoping to establish run early against San Diego
- What’s old is new at Toll Gate Revival in Lawrenceville
- A field day on social media as Pirates’ Rodriguez attacks Gatorade cooler
- Ohio woman will be millionth passenger to fly out of Arnold Palmer airport