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LIBERTY POLICE Ex-captain appeals move



Published: Tue, May 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The interim chief eased her duties somewhat, but the former captain says the workload is still heavy.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Janet Virostek says she is now doing more work for less pay.

She didn't realize the problem until her captain's bars were taken away and she saw less money in her first paycheck as a sergeant.

"That really hit me," she said.

A township police captain is paid $43,659 annually; a sergeant is paid $40,664, a difference of nearly $3,000.

Virostek was demoted as a result of a township trustees decision not to reorganize the department as recommended by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police after it conducted an organizational review of the department.

She is appealing the move.

Shuffling: In April, trustees agreed to accept the resignation of then-Police Chief Michael Pilolli because the association's review report was so critical of him. He was assigned as a captain in charge of detectives.

The reorganization demoted two captains positions held by Virostek and James Cerenelli to the rank of sergeant and eliminated two patrol officer positions, but in May, trustees reversed themselves, on a 2-1 vote, with Trustee Patrick Durina dissenting.

Pilolli and Cerenelli remained as captains because of seniority. Virostek was demoted and seven sergeant slots were retained.

Virostek took a sergeant's position vacated by Michael Haynie, who left the department to join the FBI.

On May 2, Ronald Heineking, who was appointed interim chief April 9, issued a memorandum, saying Virostek would fill the vacancy left by Haynie and work out of Haynie's office.

Duties: Heineking directed that Virostek work on juvenile cases, transport prisoners, assist in all major felony cases, take care of supplies and handle other duties at the chief's direction.

Virostek says she continues to perform 90 percent of the duties she did as a captain: handling juvenile cases, keeping track of court cases and officers' court appearances, transporting prisoners and taking care of supplies.

She said Haynie's full-time job was to take care of office supplies, which is just a part of her duties, "and my pay got cut!"

Heineking said he couldn't respond to the question of Virostek's workload because before being named interim chief in April he didn't know her duties as a captain.

"That's something he should have found out," Virostek responds.

She was given the supply duties because her new office contains the supplies, Heineking explained.

He acknowledged that after his May 2 memo outlining Virostek's duties, he did notice "it was a bit too much for her" and reduced the transporting of prisoners from five to two days a week.

Virostek is appealing the demotion to the township's civil service commission on the basis it was "punitive, retaliatory, arbitrary and capricious."

yovich@vindy.com




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