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No progress on search for Aspinwall police chief

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, 12:18 p.m.
David Caplan is shown being sworn in as Aspinwall Police Chief in 2015.
David Caplan is shown being sworn in as Aspinwall Police Chief in 2015.

In the month since Aspinwall Police Chief David Caplan resigned, no progress has been made in the search for his replacement.

Council members at a regular meeting last week said it would likely be midway through 2018 before a chief is appointed. Council's most recent search for a police chief lasted about a year.

Members agreed that the issue is something to be reviewed and moved forward by the incoming council, which includes three new members — Lara Voytko, David Brown and Marcia Cooper —who take office on Jan. 2.

What council couldn't agree on was whether to promote 19-year police veteran Dave Nemec to acting chief to fill the vacancy while the search is being conducted. He's been serving as officer-in-charge since Caplan's resignation.

Councilman Tim McLaughlin said the administrative move would include a $300 pay differential and make Nemec the go-to person for issues on police operations.

It would make him the face of the department on an interim basis, McLaughlin said.

Councilwoman Ann Marsico, however, shot down that idea, saying she believes Nemec lacks leadership skills — citing his decision to take a week's vacation this month while the department is in flux.

“We historically haven't appointed an acting chief, and for a five-man department without exorbitant duties, I think they can get help from the office staff when they need it,” she said.

Both McLaughlin and Councilman Mark Ellermeyer disagreed with Marsico, but said they were willing to delay the vote.

Nemec was not at the meeting and was not immediately available for comment.

Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 2 for its reorganization meeting.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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