Boro council fires police chief, hears of safety concerns
Voting to fire Mr. Mosesso were President Darnell Sains, Amber McGough, Dave Lowe, and Nick Viglione. Frank Bernardini voted no. Billie Michener abstained as she is on the Civil Service Commission. Barbara Keener was absent.
There was no public discussion on the action as the matter was a personnel issue. The vote was taken following a 20-minute executive session.
Published reports over the past year indicate a criminal complaint was filed against Mr. Mosesso by the county district attorney’s office accusing him of stealing more than $8,000 from police department checking accounts for his own use.
He has been on leave since Sept., 2012, with a shoulder injury incurred during police training.
Acting Chief Matthew Juzwick has been in charge of the department’s daily operations since April, 2013.
“I know I did what was asked of me by residents,” he said.
Mr. Sains said residents told him they wanted the issue resolved, and questioned if/why the borough was still paying him. Mr. Mosesso has been receiving workers’ compensation and Heart and Lung benefits.
He was hired as a part-time officer in the borough in July, 1997. He was appointed chief in July, 2001.
Moving into regular business, the council meeting began with the police report for October.
Mayor James Cassidy said there were 605 calls answered, 18 narcotics arrests, 42 domestics, three burglaries, 12 arrest warrants served, and four DUI arrests.
The biggest drug arrest involved the seizing of 25 bricks of heroin on Arlington Ave.
Many of the drug arrests were at traffic stops, which is why there are often multiple police cars at stops.
Of the four DUIs, two occurred on St. Joseph St., one in the 300 block of Brownsville Rd., and one on Rustic Ave. The 3 burglaries occurred on Sherman, Freemont, and Koehler streets.
All police department equipment is up and running.
Mr. Cassidy read a letter of resignation from Officer Kristina Mayernik, effective Nov. 6, who accepted a position elsewhere.
In the parks and recreation report, the equipment has all been put away for the winter. The borough will try for sports again in February.
In the fire report, Mr. Cassidy said the American Red Cross and fire department personnel went door-to-door asking residents if they needed smoke detectors supplied by the Red Cross.
The fire department will now call residents who requested the devices and offer to install them.
For those who did not request the detectors but would like to, applications can be completed at the fire hall over the next week.
To a question about false alarms, Mr. Cassidy said after so many occur at a specific site, the building owner can be charged.
In the economic development report, council voted 6-0 to sign a memorandum of understanding with Pittsburgh as the city seeks a “Promise Zone” designation through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The designation gives communities preferences for federal grants and other aid.
In the public comment section, a two-year resident said the local Bhutanese community, of which he is a member, does not feel safe in the borough.
The Bhutanese, which number about 50 families in the borough, are especially concerned about the safety of their children going to and from school. People are being assaulted and robbed, and therefore they are moving elsewhere, he said.
Mr. Sains apologized for the criminal actions.
Mr. Bernardini told the resident when someone gets attacked the person should remember the attacker’s face, then call 911.
The resident said many of those in his community do not want to go outside after dark for fear of attacks.
Mr. Cassidy said every incident needs to be reported. The more information that can be supplied, the better the chance the criminals can be found. Targeted police patrols have already been set up based on information that was provided on the matter.
Next, a resident complained about a sink hole in the street at 6 Verena St. The hole continues to get bigger, he said.
Mr. Sains said he would inform the public works department.
The next council meeting will be on Dec. 15.