Suspended McCandless chief planning Feb. 18 return to duty
Suspended McCandless police chief David DiSanti has received the corrective action plan he must implement before he can return to work.
Attorney Timothy P. O’Brien, who represents DiSanti, said Tuesday that the chief will agree to the terms of the plan and return to work on Feb. 18.
DiSanti was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 29 while town officials investigated allegations from a female officer that he engaged in inappropriate behavior toward her and treated her unfairly because of her gender. Two other woman with ties to the police department also accused DiSanti of engaging in inappropriate behavior toward them, according to a member of council.
Council is not releasing details of the accusations made against DiSanti or the terms of the corrective action plan, which town attorney Gavin Robb called “an internal, confidential document.”
Township officials also have declined to publicly discuss accusations made against a second officer in the department.
The same female officer who leveled charges against DiSanti alleges that Lt. Jeffrey Basl created an uncomfortable work environment by, among other things, openly making homophobic jokes and using vulgar expressions and gestures to describe sex acts. Basl was allowed to return to work after serving a 10-day unpaid suspension.
On Jan. 21, council suspended DiSanti from his $119,000 a year position until he agrees to the terms of the corrective action plan and implements its requirements. The same night, Lt. Ryan Hawk was named acting chief at the same salary DiSanti was paid.
Town council finalized details of the plan in a closed-door session on Feb. 6, according to town attorney Gavin Robb.
Robb said merely agreeing to the corrective action plan is not enough for Disanti to return to duty.
“Some elements of the plan have to be followed before he can be permitted to come back to work,” Robb said.
While officials have been mostly mum on the whether or not they support the chief’s return, some have taken to social media to comment on the decision to give DiSanti a pathway to return to duty.
“I disagree with the (corrective action) plan and have serious concerns that it has caused irreparable damage between the police force and council, and the police force and chief,” Councilman Steve Mertz posted on Tuesday. “I would think if the chief cares for the (police) force as much as he says he does, he would resign on his own because of that fact alone.”
Following the Jan. 21 at which council voted to suspend DiSanti without pay, Council President Kim Zachary used social media to say that she didn’t want to develop a corrective action plan for the chief, she wanted a chief who doesn’t require an action plan.
In addition to carrying out the terms of the corrective action plan, DiSanti also will have to work to repair relationships with the officers under his command.
After the chief was placed on administrative leave, the union representing McCandless police officers took a “no confidence” vote in which all but two of department’s 26 officers questioned DiSanti’s his s ability to continue leading the force.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, email@example.com or via Twitter .