UNION TOWNSHIP Residents' queries heat up meeting
Much of the controversy centered on the decision to hire someone to supervise the police chief.
By MARY GRZEBIENIAK
UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Nearly 100 residents crammed the municipal building last night for a meeting which Supervisor Chairman Ralph Nuzzo threatened repeatedly to adjourn for unruliness.
Many of those attending had supported the candidacy of Pat Angiolelli, who, after a protracted recount effort was only this week officially declared to have been defeated in his challenge in November for Kevin Guinaugh's supervisor seat.
Most were critical of Nuzzo and Guinaugh's plan to hire a police superintendent to supervise Police Chief Joe Lombardo. The two had announced at a special meeting Feb. 11 -- which the third supervisor, Steve Galizia did not attend -- their plans to create the superintendent post. The action followed their unsuccessful attempt last year to demote Lombardo. The new position was advertised and the deadline for applications was Wednesday. Nuzzo said four applications were received but haven't been reviewed yet.
Why create post? Several residents asked why an administrator post is being created when more patrolmen are needed. A woman asked why a & quot;daytime administrator & quot; is being hired when the highest crime rate is between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Nuzzo said the superintendent will have some patrol duties and not exclusively do paperwork.
Galizia, who was against the attempt to demote Lombardo, voted against approving $629 in attorney fees for conference calls made Jan. 14-16 to the township solicitor from Nuzzo, Guinaugh and Secretary/Treasurer Sally Byler. The calls were for discussion of the police superintendent's post. Galizia said the dates of the calls prove that creation of the post was in the works before it was even discussed with him.
One man asked why a police superintendent is being hired at all if Union Township is participating in a Lawrence County Council of Governments study for possible creation of a regional police department. Galizia asked why he wasn't notified about the study and whether it means a commitment to the project. & quot;It was put in your mailbox, & quot; Byler said.
The meeting several times erupted into shouting between residents and even, at one point, between Nuzzo and Galizia.
Call for civility: Several residents called for more civility in the meetings after Nuzzo threatened to eject those getting out of hand. But one man asked who would do the ejecting in the absence of a police officer or a sergeant at arms. Nuzzo said he had considered having a township police officer present but decided against it.
Charges of petty political tactics abounded. Galizia stated he will ask the district attorney to investigate a call which he said came from the municipal building to Guttman Oil with the caller stating the township would stop doing business there if more petitions are circulated at the Crossroads store on U.S. Route 224. After the meeting he said he was not sure, but believes the petitions, which he said were passed by patrons having coffee there, asked for the removal of Nuzzo and Guinaugh as supervisors.