Westmoreland worker's home raided after promotion, officials say
A grand jury presentment released last week when the state Attorney General's office charged a Westmoreland County employee with drug trafficking contained an incorrect date.
Randy Strong, 40, was charged with trafficking cocaine and marijuana out of his Bell Township home. A 10-year county employee, Bell received a promotion and a $9,000 raise on a vote by commissioners Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney in February 2012.
State agents raided Strong's home in November 2012, eight months after his promotion, which put him in charge of the Geographical Information Systems office.
The grand jury presentment that detailed the Strong investigation contained an incorrect date of that raid, which netted more than $78,000, 36 weapons and 13 pounds of marijuana. Originally, the presentment said the raid occurred in 2011, before Strong was promoted.
“It was a typo. This mistake was ours. We're going to correct it when the grand jury meets again,” said Dennis Fisher, acting press secretary to Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
Strong was placed on paid leave of absence three weeks after the raid and resigned in March.
Commissioners said Strong was a good employee.
“We had absolutely no idea what was going on. He was a strong performer and he really did his job well,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Commissioner Ted Kopas said Tuesday they support a drug testing policy to ensure that no county employee is using illegal drugs.
“In the environment I came from — the military — we had random drug testing,” Anderson said. “I would like to be able to do that, but we have to respect people's rights. We're working toward making it universal and as comprehensive as we can.”
Courtney said Strong's arrest should only bolster plans for future drug testing in county government.
The commissioner said he has been pushing for a drug-testing plan since March 2012.
“We need to step out and be a leader. Employees should be drug-tested,” he said.
The commissioners last month approved a policy requiring that new county employees, as a condition of their hire, pass a drug test.
Several county unions have agreed to random drug testing, while negotiations are expected to continue over the next several years on including similar language in labor contracts for the remainder of the unionized workforce. Drug testing for all nonunion workers also is being discussed.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 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.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Greensburg woman charged with stabbing husband
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty