Former Cecil police chief is target of audit investigation

  • By Scott Beveridge June 17, 2013

Cecil Township has confirmed its former police chief is under investigation for his handling of a department bank account, and that Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone and state police are reviewing “potential discrepancies” in the way in which the money was handled.

Cecil Manager Donald A. Gennuso confirmed those details in his June 11 response to an appeal the Observer-Reporter filed with the state Office of Open Records of Cecil’s refusal to make the audit in question public.

Longtime Cecil police chief John Pushak was placed on administrative duty when the investigation began in February into the police department’s federal property bank account. He resigned April 1 after the township met with Vittone to discuss the findings of the audit.

The township has listed a string of reasons for refusing to disclose the audit findings, including one indicating Gennuso has been interviewed by state police as part of the criminal investigation.

The newspaper requested the document April 2 under the Right-to-Know law, and the township used the 30-day legal review clause before denying the release of the record. Among the other reasons cited in an 11-page response to the newspaper’s appeal, Gennuso stated the denial was proper because its release would violate accountant-client privilege.

Vittone has said he could not confirm the case is under investigation.

Pushak could not be reached, and it was not immediately known if he had hired an attorney.

The Office of Open Records is reviewing the newspaper’s appeal and is expected to issue a ruling next month.

Scott Beveridge has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986 after previously working at the Daily Herald in Monongahela. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts and art education programs and Duquesne University’s master of liberal arts program. He is a 2004 World Affairs journalism fellow.


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