New chief is selected by seniority
Two of the three captains had the same score, with the third only one point behind.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- Capt. Frank Bigowsky won the race to be city police chief, but just by a nose.
According to Atty. Curt Latell of the city's civil service commission, Bigowsky, a 31-year-veteran, came out on top on the recent police chief exam given by the commission.
"Three captains took it, and both Bigowsky and Capt. Jeff Palmer had the same score," Latell said. "However, Bigowsky won the tiebreaker because he had more seniority."
Bigowsky could not be reached to comment.
John Villecco, the acting chief, scored one point lower than Palmer and Bigowsky, Latell said.
"It was very close," Latell noted.
The city's civil service commission announced the results Wednesday. Mayor James Melfi now has 30 days to make the appointment.
"I have to wait to get the paperwork and then I will make the appointment," Melfi said. He said he is looking forward to working with Bigowsky.
Bigowsky, who has been captain since 1979, will earn $50,500 as chief. He has bachelor's degrees in law enforcement administration and in secondary education, both from Youngstown State University.
Bigowsky also graduated from the Law Enforcement Foundation's Police Executive Leadership College in 2001. PELC is a three-week leadership program for law enforcement executives.
Bigowsky will replace former Police Chief Anthony Ross, 80, who finished his 32-year run Feb. 25.
There have been no major changes in the police department since Ross, also known as Buster, retired, Melfi said.
The mayor added that one problem the new chief may have is the lack of funds. He said there is no money at this time to hire additional patrol officers.
City council is planning to place a 0.25-percent income tax on the November general election ballot. If that levy passes, it will raise about $400,000 a year for the department.
City officials said if the levy is successful, they would like to hire an officer for juvenile issues.