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LIBERTY Cop sues township to regain captain rank



Published: Wed, June 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The suit says the former chief does not deserve a captain's position.

By JENNINE ZELEZNIK

and DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- A Liberty police officer is suing the township for her old job back.

Janet Virostek, a sergeant, was bumped from her position as captain May 2 to make way for Michael Pilolli.

Pilolli resigned as police chief April 28 after a state report suggested he be removed from that position. Township trustees then named Pilolli to a captain's post.

"[Virostek] is entitled to be a captain," said Bill Wilson, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 65 and adviser to the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which is backing Virostek.

Q. Virostek contends Pilolli was unlawfully appointed captain and has no right under law to hold the position, according to the lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court.

The township and Pilolli are named as defendants.

Law: Under law, only if the captain's position had been eliminated would Virostek have been legally demoted. However, that position was not eliminated -- it is filled by Pilolli, the suit states.

Also by law, vacancies in positions must be filled by promotion from lower-ranking officers, who must first go through a competitive examination.

"The law is clear," Randall Waltman, attorney for the OPBA, said. "There is no basis whatsoever to put him in that position."

Seeks old job: The suit asks that the court order trustees to give Virostek her job back and to remove Pilolli from the position of captain.

Darlene St. George, township administrator, hadn't seen the lawsuit as of Tuesday afternoon and declined to comment. She referred questions to Atty. Dennis Haines, who represents the township.

"We feel we will prevail," Haines said. "We don't think there's a basis for the claim."

The OPBA filed the suit directly with the state to avoid local politics and to shorten a potentially lengthy appeals process, Waltman said.

Virostek has also lodged a complaint with the Civil Service Commission regarding her removal. A hearing to decide if she can immediately resume her captain's position was conducted Tuesday. It is not known when a decision will be rendered.




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