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Monroeville to clarify oustings of police chief, borough manager

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By Bill Vidonic
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Monroeville borough officials expect to address on Thursday the upheaval surrounding the recent removal of police Chief Kenneth “Doug” Cole and the ousting of manager Jeffrey Silka.

“We will bring a lot of that stuff out then,” Councilman Clarence Ramsey said on Saturday.

The council is scheduled to conduct a work session and citizens night meeting that includes public comment at 7 p.m. in the borough building.

Borough interim manager Lynette McKinney issued an order on Friday afternoon that removed Cole “without cause” as police chief. Cole, with the rank of sergeant, will report to acting police Chief Steve Pascarella, who had been assistant chief under Cole, said Councilwoman Lois Drumheller.

McKinney's directive said Pascarella will remain as acting chief until a permanent chief is hired.

Silka, who had been borough manager since July, resigned on Wednesday, claiming that council members ordered him to fire Cole or be fired himself. His severance package is nearly $67,600, about six months of pay and benefits.

Councilwoman Diane Allison said on Thursday that she and others pressured Silka to investigate why Cole did not look into a complaint that former Chief George Polnar violated federal privacy law by sharing information about a medical emergency.

Monroeville solicitor Bruce Dice conducted a review last year and said that no law was broken.

Silka declined to comment on Saturday. Cole could not be reached for comment.

Silka is the second manager to leave the borough within a year. On Feb. 1, 2012, Tim Little resigned as manager.

“It's an embarrassment to the community, to the residents, to the municipality in general,” Councilman Nick Gresock said on Saturday of the recent changes, which he said he opposes. “It's really an unfortunate situation. It's politics at its worst.”

Drumheller said on Saturday that the drama does not give the community a black eye, but instead “a stomach ache.”

As she's been answering questions from residents calling her, Drumheller said, “they may be worried and angry, but not confused, because I'm not lying to them.”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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