Demoted police chief may return to Monroeville force
Former Monroeville police Chief Doug Cole could be back on the job next week, this time as assistant chief.
A court-ordered arbitrator ruled Friday that the municipality violated Cole's contract when municipal manager Lynette McKinney demoted him “without cause” to sergeant in February.
“We fully anticipated that this would be the result, and we're glad the arbitrator saw things our way,” said attorney Michael Colarusso, who is representing Cole.
Colarusso said he anticipates that Cole will return to work as early as Monday. Cole declined to comment.
McKinney did not return calls seeking comment. Attorney Robert Zunich of Plum-based Bruce Dice Associates, who is representing the municipality in the case, could not be reached for comment.
An Allegheny County Common Pleas judge ordered arbitration after Cole filed a lawsuit in February that accused McKinney and the municipality of violating his contract.
Cole is entitled to back pay and benefits that he would have received as an assistant police chief since the time he was demoted, according to the ruling by arbitrator Ronald Talarico, a Pittsburgh attorney.
Cole's contract with the municipality and the town's home rule charter state that a police chief removed “without cause” would return to the highest rank held prior to becoming chief. Cole was promoted from assistant chief to chief in 2010.
McKinney fired Cole in September after accusations that Monroeville firefighters violated the employee handbook by accessing police information in the municipality's dispatch computer system. As the police chief at the time, Cole oversaw the dispatch center.
The Monroeville police department is among the largest in the county, with about 45 officers. The department responds to about 18,000 calls each year.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-856-7400, ext. 8755.
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.