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LIBERTY POLICE Demotion was improper, panel says



Published: Sat, July 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The junior captain was demoted and became a sergeant.

LIBERTY -- Liberty Township Civil Service Commission has ruled township trustees acted properly when they demoted a police captain to the rank of sergeant.

The decision released Friday involved the demotion of Janet E. Virostek.

On April 10, trustees reorganized the police department, eliminating the ranks of two captains and two sergeants. Police Chief Michael Pilolli resigned and became a captain.

On May 1, trustees rescinded the reorganization, leaving Pilolli and James Cerenelli holding the two captain positions.

Being the junior captain, Virostek was demoted and became a sergeant.

Officer's argument: In her appeal to the commission, Virostek argued she was illegally demoted.

She asserted it wasn't done to increase efficiency, but was retaliatory. She said that restoring Pilolli, who doesn't live in the township, to a captain's rank was contrary to the township residency rule.

Trustees countered they gave Virostek bumping rights; they don't have to show increased efficiency; the captain's position was abolished because a study found the department was "top heavy" with ranking officers; and Pilolli's residency was not the issue.

The commission ruled that the police union, Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, agreed trustees would keep two captain's positions.

Thus, having three individuals for two positions requires the least senior, Virostek, to be demoted to sergeant.




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