Here are the latest random happenings from my reporter’s notebook:

A Big Nod For Kunselman

Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Deborah Kunselman got a huge boost in her campaign for the Pennsylvania Superior Court yesterday.

Kunselman was one of four candidates who received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee — the only candidate from Western Pennsylvania to get the nod.

As previously reported, the Pennsylvania State Bar Association has given Kunselman their “highly recommended” rating for the position.

Voters will be electing four judges this year to fill vacancies on the Superior Court.

DA Was Overpaid

Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier got paid too much last year.  Lozier contacted the Commissioners Office last week to notify the county he noticed his accumulated total salary figure for 2016 was larger than it should have been.

A District Attorney’s salary is set by state statute in Pennsylvania, as are the salaries of judges, to ensure they remain independent and free from undue influence by local governing bodies.  State law states, “A full-time district attorney shall be compensated at one thousand dollars ($1,000) lower than the compensation paid to a judge of the court of common pleas in the respective judicial district.”

For 2016, the state set salaries for judges of the court of Common Pleas at $176,572. According to county records previously published by the Beaver Countian, District Attorney Lozier was paid approximately $177,110 last year, or about $1,538 above what his salary should have been by statute.

County officials were still investigating the issue the last I spoke to them, but said the problem seems to have stemmed from cost-of-living adjustments made by the county to District Attorney Lozier’s salary — the state did not give a cost-of-living increase to Judges for calendar year 2016. Under a resolution passed by a prior Board of Commissioners, county elected officials receive automatic pay increases based on a cost-of-living index.

County Officials told me they were grateful to District Attorney David Lozier for bringing the problem to their attention and that Lozier has arranged to reimburse taxpayers for the full amount of his over-payment.

New EMS Director Hopes To Make 911 Center Drug-Free

Beaver County EMS Director Eric Brewer (left) with Kevin Whipple (Deputy Director 911) and William Petures (Deputy Director EMA) / photo by John Paul

Beaver County’s newly minted Emergency Services Director is preparing to bring on a class of new recruits for County 911 Dispatchers.  Eric Brewer attended the Commissioners public work session last week to introduce the Board to his two new Deputy Directors and to get permission to proceed with training classes for new part-time hires.

Eric Brewer replaced retired EMS Director Wes Hill at the beginning of this year, naming Kevin Whipple as Deputy Director 911 and William Petures as Deputy Director EMA.

Director Brewer is looking to end a string of embarrassing incidents involving County 911 dispatchers over the past several years, telling Commissioners he has made significant changes to the vetting process used when hiring new recruits — including scouring social media for potential red flags.

Here are some of the County 911 Dispatcher involved incidents from the Beaver Countian’s news archives:

Beaver County 911 Dispatcher Arrested After Allegedly Discharging Handgun Outside Of Bar In West Virginia

Beaver County 911 Dispatcher Arrested For Child Endangerment After Allegedly Overdosing On Heroin

Beaver County 911 Dispatcher Suspended For Making Fun Of Man Who Had His Chest Ripped Open By Police K-9

Two Women File For Protection From Beaver County 911 Dispatcher

(Another) Emergency Dispatcher Charged With DUI

County 911 Dispatcher Charged With Second DUI

Depositions Begin In Deputy’s Lawsuit Against Sheriff Tony Guy

Depositions have begun in former Beaver County Sheriff Deputy Curtis Larrick’s federal civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Tony Guy and the County.

Curtis Larrick, who had been a Deputy with the Beaver County Sheriff’s Department since 1992, was fired by Sheriff Tony Guy when he took office in January of last year. Although Sheriff Guy provided no reason for Larrick’s termination, stating simply that he had the authority to do so, Larrick alleges he was terminated for his support of Guy’s opponent in the general election.

Deputy Larrick’s previous work with State Police, and his courtroom testimony during a bond revocation hearing for then-Sheriff George David, led to David being placed on house arrest for three months. The deputy faced wide-spread retaliation and harassment from David loyalists following his testimony, which was well documented by the county’s Human Resources Department.

Sources tell me Larrick was first to be deposed in the case.  Sheriff Tony Guy, Chief Deputy Dean Michael, and Captain Jay Alstadt are the next people expected to be questioned by the attorneys.

It looks like former Deputies John Joe Fratangeli and Paul Clark are in the process of settling their cases with the County.  Federal court dockets show Fratangeli and Clark have notified the courts that no further discovery will be necessary.  Just for fun (and to give you an idea what my leisurely reading consists of), here’s what that looks like in the federal dockets:

ORDER indicating that the Court having been advised by counsel for the parties that no further discovery is necessary in two of these consolidated matters, i.e., Civil Action No. 16-83 (assigned to Judge Cathy Bissoon) and Civil Action 16-490 (assigned to Judge Nora Barry Fischer), but that further discovery may be necessary as to Civil Action No. 16-282 (assigned to Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy), such that the consolidation of discovery ordered by the Court on August 26, 2016 is no longer necessary, (Docket No. 19 ), it is hereby ordered that Civil Action No. 16-83 is referred back to Judge Bissoon and 16-282 is referred back to Magistrate Judge Eddy for all further proceedings; that the docket in this matter, Civil Action No. 16-490, shall be amended to reflect that John Fratangelli is the sole plaintiff in this matter; that the telephone status conference set for 1/26/17 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Fischer (at C.A. 16-490) is cancelled. Any further proceedings in these matters will be scheduled by the presiding Judges. Signed by Judge Nora Barry Fischer on 1/26/17. (jg)

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John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Attorney Shahen, in my opinion, is one of the most non- discriminating, openly friendly, and respectful of others person. I say that from my observations of him, in and out of the Beaver County Courthouse!
    We need more people friendly, good natured, law abiding people like him in Beaver County Government.
    I think a cost of living increase to any County employee should be placed on a hold until the the County is thriving again.

     
  2. Ya see, Stonewall, how easy it is to settle things when the money goes to people where it ain’t supposed to be? The lesson? Just give it back. Even if it’s hundreds of thousands. Likely, it was a direct deposit. That avoids a whole host of check and withdrawal signature problems.

    Or, just keep it.

    That’s right! Keep it. There is NO QUID PRO QUO. No crime if nothing was gained. You didn’t steal it and treat friends to ice cream cones at Bruster’s. No quid pro quo. They gave it away, not you.

    You didn’t have to call Tony or Jimmy or keep mum and avoid talking to the Commissioners to make it go away, did you? No, let it ride until the next election, or never, and let it sit on the back burner and simmer. No harm, not foul, tough titty.

    I do praise your honesty, though. That’s one less article in the Beaver Countian about missing transferred funds and an increase in the deficit. Heck, there might even be some other elected official that can learn from this.

    For once, no Con job. What a relief.

     
  3. “New EMS Director Hopes To Make 911 Center Drug-Free”

    “Hopes to?”

    Will he make a case to have new Sheriff drug dogs on site? Will new offenders be offered First Time Offender DUI probation and counselling if someone dies on their watch?

    Wait. What? This will be a new mode of operations? Something worthy of a Good Citizen Award?

    I am told that the air traffic controllers at the airport will no longer be allowed to work if they are blind.

    Progress.

     
  4. Social Security Administration has not given a raise to the elderly for years. They say that the cost of living hasn’t gone up due to the economic condition of the country. Why is every one else getting cost of living raises?

     
    • Especially when they are cutting budgets everywhere and not giving anyone else cost of living raises. What makes elected officials any more important than the rest of the county employees?

       
    • That comes out $14,583.00 a month and $673.00 a day. I believe that’s a little much to do a half assed investigation on someone for over a year and yield no results.

       
      • @ Mr Weezlepop…..very nice photo, but Mungo cant see the right side of it too clearly! It appears the part where Connie the Con is sitting up to the right while crocheting the other end of that afgan. All the while trying to cover up one of those frizzled old wine boda boobies that was just used to feed the overpaid, lackadaisical, good for nothing wanker that is currently occupying the top LEO position in Beaver County under said afgan. But pay no mind to Mungo’s rantings because the hour is late and more important news is brewing on the west coast with a massive dam rupture with hundreds of thousands of emergency evacuations are underway. If that religious bent councilwoman wants to pray so badly Mungo just gave you multiple avenues in need of theological enlightenment, so as they say ” let’s get shaken!”

         
      • JohnQ- you are quite generous in givin’ this guy a HALF- assed rating. As far as the over payment goes, I think the annual salary is about $95,000. over this guys value to the taxpayers.

         
    • Does anyone know who this looks like? He looks like a guy who worked where I worked. Only thing missing is a dog.

       
  5. Director Eric Brewer, you don’t have a main drug or alcohol problem. You have a personality problem with the staff that has a “dontgiveashit” attitude toward the people they serve. Fire them. All of them. Trust me, you won’t fix that with any new stop gap programs. From Psycho Cop and the dispatcher laughing about his dog eating a perp to a dispatcher helping a Sheriff Deputy get overtime, that is not drug or alcohol caused. That is a perversion of justice and betrayal of the offices they hold. They have to go.

     
    • He should not fire all of them. There are a lot of qualified and caring dispatchers over there. One or two bad apples is not a reason to fire all of them. How would you feel about this at your place of employment ?

       
  6. Bigger story is that another Monaca/Center person was hired with the county. Colville in DPW, Rossi in Payroll, Cultry in commissioners, Petures in EMS…. shall I go on

     
  7. I disagree Raven not ALL dispatchers should be fired their are many who do a wonderful job! One bad apple doesn’t make you throw the bushel away!

     
    • Maybe. But I think an air of permissiveness existed there. Perhaps with Wes Hill leaving, that will not be the case. He seemed overwhelmed. Of all the agencies in the county, the 911 and emergency services are the most critical, and the behavior of the staff should be also. It is deeply disappointing to me that if I call 911, there might not be a professional there to answer it, but rather some kid who hasn’t grown up yet, hungover, drugged or playing footsies with a cop on the phone to have a few yucks or to pad his overtime.

       
  8. The disgraceful dispatchers should have been outed long ago by their co-workers if they know that someone is drugged up, violent or just plain too stupid to be a dispatcher when lives can be lost. Don’t know them all but there are some from previous incidents that lack the aptitude for the job except their family lineage. it’s time that people learn that responsibility is earned by letting your supervisors’ know when someone is a bum. When you cover up the crimes, etc you are just as guilty. Note to Sheriff’s office and local police forces where thugs permeate the staff. Other wise, shut up and get lumped into the same category as the offenders. You help solve the problems for the taxpayers you represent or YOU ARE the problem. Aiding and abetting ineptitude, mismanagement and unethical behavior is not a description of a good public employee.

    Stonewall, you better sneak up on that paycheck wearing a mask cause you sure as hell are a bandit. That’s the only big balls you will get is stealing a paycheck without doing your job. Otherwise the Queen holds your balls in her hand but the public now knows what a wimp you are.

    A friend was at the meeting of commissioners recently and was impressed that the new 911/EMS people may actually give a damn about the taxpayers and wasteful spending. Hear tell a boat will be for sale. So long Wes Hill, you will be remembered as just another beaver party hack. let the Midget know there will be a boat for sale. He may cover it with armor plates, 50 cal machine guns and some artillery to guard our riverfront against ISIS & al Quaida. Of course it will require hiring 10 more deputies as Navy seals for the sneaky bastards who may swim under the water. How about a few old A-10’s to guard the county airport??”?

     
    • Just a thought to ponder. Did the blue wall of silence enable Center cop to steal drugs, cash and evidence for such a long period of time? Eerily similar to the silence surrounding the thug from Beaver with the mad dog. That’s what I mean when I say you will all be judged by taxpayers if you fail to do the right thing when you see your peers fail to follow the law or uphold the oath of their office. Stand up and clean up these criminal law enforcement thugs who tarnish the image of the good ones.

       
  9. What’s the difference? He may have conducted his new hire interviews at the Rochester Vets. Tip a few and see what the applicant can handle. Obviously they never included background checks or any investigation for such sensitive positions where divulging private 911 calls can be used for comedy skits with the police between trying to force overtime or get your auto parts cheap. Nice job Wes, you were a real ASSet to the county and the taxpayers. Another political hack with no ethics or morality. Stealing a paycheck is what its all about. F-ck the taxpayers over and over. Hang your head in shame! No pride in your job so that ain’t happening. Good riddance.

     
  10. It’s Amateur Hour once again in Beaver County. What, Lozier was overpaid???!!!! It doesn’t take a Detective to know that. He should be paid in pennies. Friggin Amateurs.

     
  11. Those who manage these departments should look into postings on social media as a way of vetting employees before and after they are hired. It may have staved off a vicious and unnecessary K-9 attack, when it was obvious Officer Jeff w-r was also off his leash/meds.

     

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  12. At least he’s claiming to have been overpaid rather than claiming to be overworked because nobody would believe that one based on the lack of results.

    Hopes to make the 911 center drug free…..seriously??? There are just some things on life that you would like to just be an axiom. You know, like the sun will rise tomorrow, cows will produce milk and the people who answer emergency calls aren’t gorked out of their minds because they are under the influence of angel dust or heroin. Only in Beaver County could having a drug free dispatch center be considered an “accomplishment” rather than a given.

    BTW, Dave, nice afghan…. goes well with the plaid couch…. or is that a country motif gingham? It might be time for an appointment with an interior designer…. Just saying.

     
  13. There should be mandatory drug tests done on all county employees at random, not on a regular schedule as to give the employee a prior notice. It should be unexpected, but that wouldn’t work because we all know that they take care of their own.

     
    • Can’t random drug test, the union does not allow random drug testing. Got to play by the rules and those who are in charge don’t make the rules.

       
  14. By the way, John Paul, the connected 1.5 volt cell, nail and wire wrappings would overheat, making that weak electromagnet shot-lived, maybe even a fire hazard. I don’t see what it has to do with solar power. But heck, I clicked through to add some revenue!

     
    • I should have said that I was referencing an advertisement that appears on my iphone at times, before the articles.

       
  15. We HOPE to make the 911 center drug free…. What a lofty goal.

    Next thing, we will TRY to rein in the Sheriff Department and MAYBE get after some cost cutting in the budget that involves some dead asses in the courthouse.

    Make Beaver County Great AGAIN

     

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