Ex-police chief sues Monroeville over firing
Monroeville violated the First Amendment, federal disability laws and the state whistle-blower protection law when officials fired former police Chief Steven Pascarella, the veteran police officer says in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
Pascarella, 46, of Monroeville claims the municipality denied him short-term disability payments, refused to accommodate his disability and fired him in April in retaliation for reporting security breaches of Monroeville's emergency dispatch system.
Monroeville Manager Tim Little said that the municipality did not terminate Pascarella's employment, but he suggested that Pascarella was no longer able to work because of his medical condition.
“Nobody fired him,” Little said, “he initiated that by applying for worker's compensation.”
After Pascarella filed for short-term disability in October, two independent physicians determined he wasn't well enough to work as a police officer, so the municipality sent him a letter explaining his options that included applying for long-term disability, Little said.
Pascarella resigned as police chief in November and was appointed as a lieutenant, though he remained on short-term disability at that time. The lawsuit does not describe Pascarella's disability.
His attorney, Joseph Chivers, and Monroeville's solicitor, Bruce Dice, did not return calls seeking comment.
Monroeville Council members Ron Harvey and Linda Gaydos said on Tuesday they were befuddled by the lawsuit, because last week, the municipality's insurance provider approved long-term disability for Pascarella.
Pascarella said in the lawsuit he was denied an extension of short-term disability status in April as retaliation for reporting security breaches by the town's emergency dispatchers. He reported the violations to state and federal authorities.
Little said the municipality granted 26 weeks of short-term disability, but officials denied the extension in April.
Little said the language in the collective bargaining agreement is “ambiguous” as to whether an officer should have been guaranteed an extension of short-term disability while a long-term disability case is pending.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or email@example.com.
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.
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?
- Road Trip! Destination: The Greenbrier
- Frye: Figuring out deer dilemma
- Car dealerships turn advertising, sales focus to women
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Brewers, April 19, 2015
- U.S. Steel’s reality is small, like planned HQ
- Defense shines in Pitt football spring game
- History Center looks at Pittsburgh’s role in WWII
- Pittsburgh Dance Council to explore ‘reinvention’ in coming season