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Plum eyes transition as police chief Monaco plans to retire

| Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, 7:30 a.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Plum police chief Frank Monaco is planning to retire and council will consider replacing him with Lt. Jeffrey Armstrong.

Plum police Chief Frank Monaco is looking to retire.

Council members went into a closed session on Monday after the work session to discuss two items on the public agenda — the “retirement of Frank Monaco,” and the “appointment of Lt. (Jeffrey) Armstrong as chief of police.”

Council had no public discussion on the two items.

Manager Michael Thomas after the meeting said the closed-door discussion was expected to center around a potential timetable for Monaco's retirement, the conditions under which he would consider retiring and a transition plan for Armstrong to be promoted to police chief.

Council members on Tuesday had no comment on the closed-door discussion surrounding Monaco's potential retirement. A vote on the issue is expected during the 7 p.m. council meeting on Tuesday.

Monaco, 64, Plum's chief since 2007, was not at the meeting. He declined comment when contacted Monday night.

Thomas said Monaco's salary is about $100,000, and Armstrong is paid about $95,000.

“The chief came to us with a plan,” council President Mike Doyle told the Plum Advance Leader after Monday night's work session. “In the long run, it would be beneficial to the borough financially. Over a period of years, we would realize six-figure savings.”

Doyle also said he has been pleased with Monaco's tenure as chief. Prior to joining the Plum police department, Monaco had a 32-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, retiring with the rank of major.

“He is a good man,” Doyle said of Monaco who lives in New Kensington. “He is overqualified for the position (of chief). He is a good guy, and we have become good friends.”

Armstrong, 46, a 20-year veteran of the Plum police department, has been at the helm for short stints in recent years.

Armstrong ran the 25-man department most recently early last year when Monaco was on sick leave.

“He (Armstrong) ran the show,” Monaco said when he returned from sick leave in late January 2013. “He did a yeoman's job. He knows how to do everything, and I am confident in his abilities. I'm blessed to have him as my second-in-command.”

Armstrong also handled the duties of acting chief for nearly a year when former Chief Robert Payne in 2006 left the post for a job in the private sector. Payne became police chief in Edgewood in 2008.

Armstrong attended Monday's meeting and went into the closed session with members of council to discuss the position.

“I am interested in it (the position),” said Armstrong who lives in Springdale.

Prior to joining the Plum police department, Armstrong was a police officer in Oil City.

Thomas said if Armstrong becomes chief, council would look to promote one of the department's sergeants to the lieutenant's position, and, in turn, an officer to the sergeant's rank.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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