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Valley News Dispatch

Mike Naviglia to serve as police chief in Cheswick and Springdale Township

Emily Balser
| Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, 10:33 a.m.
Cheswick Police car
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Cheswick Police car

Springdale Township Police Chief Mike Naviglia soon will be the chief of police in Cheswick, too.

At least for a while.

At a special meeting Friday morning, Cheswick officials hired Naviglia to serve as the borough’s interim police chief once current Chief Bob Scott retires.

Scott is retiring as part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit he filed against the borough earlier this year.

Cheswick Council approved the measure 5-0 with council members Frank Meledandri and Cathy Crail absent.

Naviglia will begin as acting chief on Dec. 15 making $25 an hour with no benefits. Scott will remain the chief until Dec. 31, but will be out of the office using up remaining vacation time beginning Dec. 15. Naviglia will officially take over as interim chief on Jan. 1.

He will serve only as an administrative chief and not a patrolman.

Naviglia was among nine applicants, four of which were interviewed by council members.

Councilman Michael Girardi said Naviglia was chosen because he already has experience as a chief and is familiar with the borough. Springdale Township provides mutual aid for police calls in Cheswick.

“He has a very impressive resume,” Girardi said.

Naviglia said he looks forward to working with the Cheswick department and helping to train and lead its part-time officers.

“I’m very happy,” Naviglia said.

Naviglia said the hours he works in Cheswick will vary depending on the required duties each day. He said those details are still being worked out.

Springdale Township Commissioners President Anthony Rozzano said he thinks Naviglia will serve Cheswick well.

“I think he’ll do a good job down there,” he said. “He’s very knowledgeable and good at what he does.”

Rozzano didn’t anticipate any issues with Naviglia serving in both municipalities.

Cheswick hired an interim chief because they are exploring a police merger with Springdale Township and officials don’t want to hire a full-time chief until those details have been decided.

Girardi said, if the merger takes place, it would be a benefit to have Naviglia already knowledgeable about Cheswick.

He said there’s no guarantee Naviglia would go on to be chief of a newly merged department. Those decisions would be made by an independent board that would oversee the department.

In June, Scott sued Cheswick, alleging officials breached his contract, failed to pay him overtime and retaliated against him when he asked for compensation.

The 28-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, outlined years of alleged unpaid overtime, failed contract and budget negotiations with borough council and subsequent “embarrassment and humiliation” when council reduced Scott’s salary by 10 percent in 2016.

Scott’s salary was reduced from $73,700 to $66,590, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Scott is the only full-time officer in the department. He performs chief duties as well as patrolman duties.

Cheswick spends about $300,000 a year to run its police department.

Scott originally was seeking full back pay and benefits, including pension contributions, attorney’s fees and associated costs, liquidated and compensatory damages and an additional payment to offset the adverse tax consequences of receiving the damages in a lump sum.

Those details of the agreement weren’t available as of Friday. Girardi said the settlement is still being finalized by lawyers. He said he hopes it is finished by the end of the year.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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