In a 5-2 vote, Ellwood City borough council appointed a full-time patrol officer on Monday, Jan. 19. The officer is also the nephew of recently sworn-in council member George Celli.
The new full-time officer, Jonathan Fauzey, has been working part-time since a previous council hired him in August 2013. Monday’s vote had similarities to the vote almost two and a half years ago to hire Fauzey as part-time.
In both votes, council members Judi Dici and Marilyn Mancini voted against the motion but were defeated by a majority that included Celli. Dici and Celli have been off council since losing an election in 2013 but returned this year after winning election in November 2015.
During Monday’s meeting, Dici said that there were uncertainties regarding the interview process that she wished to have cleared up and asked for a motion to postpone the appointment until February. This motion failed 4-3, with Dici and Mancini joined by Vice President David DeCaria.
In the vote to pass the motion appointing Fauzey, DeCaria joined the majority.
In a verbal statement given to Ellwoodcity.org on Tuesday, Dici said that another candidate had had a higher combined score on the civil service written and oral examinations. Dici also confirmed that the other candidate has field experience.
The police department has been understaffed for more than a year now and council president Connie MacDonald said that for him, that was the deciding factor.
“We needed to hire a full time officer immediately, and we had an acceptable candidate, ” MacDonald said.
Fauzey replaces former patrol officer Brian Damon, who is on disability retirement. Damon attended Monday’s meeting to protest the disability pension figure, although that figure was approved unanimously later in the meeting.
In two other unanimous motions, council appointed two part-time patrol officers: Kathleen Kelly and Kevin Cragle. Both will earn a base rate of $17.48 an hour. Fauzey will earn $23.57 an hour.