Tarentum fires public works laborer facing strangulation charge
Tarentum Council fired a public works laborer who is accused of attacking and threatening to kill a 17-year-old summer worker.
At a special meeting Tuesday, council voted 6-1 to fire Timothy Dzugan effective immediately.
Councilman Tim Cornuet cast the only vote against firing Dzugan. He declined to comment on his vote after the meeting.
Tarentum police charged Dzugan on July 30 in connection with an incident on July 19, according to court records. He faces misdemeanor counts of simple assault and strangulation and a summary county of harassment.
Dzugan, 55, could not be reached for comment. His listed attorney, Scott Bitar, could also not be reached.
According to a criminal complaint Tarentum police filed against Dzugan, he allegedly got into a physical altercation with the 17-year-old boy at the borough’s street garage. He is alleged to have thrown the boy to the ground, squeezed his neck with both hands and threatened to kill him.
The complaint states the incident was witnessed by two other summer workers, who gave police similar accounts of the incident.
Then-acting public works Director Mark Anuszek told police he arrived at the garage after the incident happened. According to the complaint, Dzugan allegedly told Anuszek that the victim had verbally insulted him and “got in his face,” and that he put the boy on the ground and “told him to show some respect.”
Dzugan’s case was transferred to Reserve Township District Judge Daniel Konieczka Jr. Dzugan is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 5.
Dzugan previously worked as a code enforcement officer for Tarentum, according to Borough Manager Michael Nestico. He was a public works laborer since September 2012. His pay was $24.20 per hour.
Dzugan also was an elected constable. In 2014, he was convicted of falsifying arrest warrants and sentenced to probation. He was acquitted of theft. Prosecutors said he submitted and was paid for nearly 150 invalid warrants.
Dzugan’s termination creates a third vacancy in public works, Nestico said. The department has a supervisor and three other employees.
“There’s no question that being short-staffed cuts back on their ability to be proactive and get things done in the community,” Nestico said. “They’re holding together really well and still getting a lot done.”
Nestico said the borough is seeking applicants to fill the vacancies.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .