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Monroeville police chief resigns, citing job stress

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 6:02 p.m.

The chief of Monroeville's troubled police department has resigned because of health problems he says he has suffered since taking the position, according to a copy of his letter of resignation obtained by the Tribune-Review.

Steven Pascarella, 45, submitted his resignation on Friday stating that the job “had an extremely negative effect on my health that I no longer wish to endure.”

In his letter, Pascarella said the chief's post also has taken a toll on his family.

“The (undue) stress that my family has had to endure from intentional politically motivated attacks are unacceptable and should not have to be tolerated by any employee,” Pascarella wrote.

Pascarella, who has been on short-term disability since October, will return to work as lieutenant, a position he held before being promoted to police chief in March.

Mayor Gregory Erosenko said on Saturday that it is his understanding that it will be at least 30 days before Pascarella is cleared to return to work.

Sgt. Rob McConnell, who has worked for the municipality for 25 years, was appointed to supervise the police department when Pascarella went on disability.

Erosenko said Pascarella replaced former police Chief Doug Cole in February because municipal Manager Lynette McKinney believed the 911 dispatch computer system had been compromised.

The state Attorney General's Office determined that generic user names and passwords allowed Monroeville firefighters to access sensitive police information documented during 911 calls — including individuals' criminal history — that could harm police or residents, Erosenko said.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which also is looking into the problems at the 911 center, has not determined whether a violation occurred, the mayor said.

Cole was in charge of the dispatch center, and Pascarella oversaw the computer database.

Cole was demoted in February, then fired along with two emergency dispatchers in September. He appealed both actions, and arbitrators awarded him damages upon finding that the municipality violated the terms of his contract. Two more arbitration hearings are scheduled for Jan. 24.

Cole's supporters have regularly attended council meetings to oppose his removal and to argue that Pascarella should have been disciplined.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com. Staff writer Tony LaRussa contributed to this report.

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