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Allegheny

McCandless police union takes 'no confidence' vote for suspended police chief

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, 6:33 p.m.
McCandless police chief David DiSanti, left, and Lt. Jeffrey Basl were placed on paid leave in October while the town conducted a personnel investigation, according to the union representing the police department's officers.
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McCandless police chief David DiSanti, left, and Lt. Jeffrey Basl were placed on paid leave in October while the town conducted a personnel investigation, according to the union representing the police department's officers.

The union representing Town of McCandless police officers has sent the municipality a letter detailing a “no confidence” vote its membership conducted in which all but two of the department’s 26 officers are questioning the police chief’s ability to continue leading the force.

Town officials posted a notice Oct. 29 that two members of the police department were placed on paid administrative leave while a “personnel matter” was being reviewed.

Officials have repeatedly refused to name the officers, or even say who is heading the police department.

A copy of the union’s letter obtained by the Tribune-Review says the officers being investigated are Chief David DiSanti and Lt. Jeffrey Basl.

According to the Dec. 4 letter from the McCandless Police Officer’s Association, 24 officers cast no confidence votes against DiSanti, one officer abstained and one voted to continue to support the chief. The vote did not include two new officers who have not yet completed their probationary periods.

Officials confirmed that the municipality has received the letter and that its investigation has been completed.

“The letter will be forwarded to town council, which is reviewing the findings of the investigation,” said manager Toby Cordek, who declined additional comment.

The letter states that the officers did not vote earlier out of respect for the investigative process and a desire to not “interfere with an ongoing investigation.”

“Now that this investigation has concluded, we feel that now is the appropriate time to provide you with this information,” according to the letter.

“It has come to the attention of the (union) that a specific McCandless officer who is known to the membership as having a close, personal friendship with Chief David DiSanti has made statements that the issue at hand has been settled and that (the chief’s) return to the department is imminent.”

The letter said it is “imperative” that council know how the officers feel about the chief’s return and that the “community deserves no less than a true accounting of Chief David DiSanti’s tenure and leadership of this department.”

Union officials say its members “stand in full support of our fellow officer in relation to this current issue” but did not disclose the name of the officer or what they believe transpired.

DiSanti, who started his career as a rookie officer in McCandless, was hired in August 2016 to replace retiring chief Gary Anderson. DiSanti previously was the chief in Oakmont.

Basl, whose been with the department for 23 years, was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in August.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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