Disciplinary hearing set for North Strabane official

February 25, 2014
Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter North Strabane Township parks and recreation director Greg Sulc addresses township supervisors during a meeting Tuesday night.

North Strabane officials scheduled a disciplinary hearing for the township’s embattled parks and recreation director.

The supervisors would not discuss why they voted Tuesday night to schedule the March 19 hearing for Greg Sulc, but he has been under scrutiny in recent weeks for sending a political announcement using his township email and making personal calls with his municipal cellphone.

Sulc could face a suspension or even termination at the hearing, although it was more likely a decision on his status would be made during the township’s March 25 meeting. The 7 p.m. disciplinary hearing at the township building is considered an executive session that will be held in private unless Sulc decides to open it to the public.

Township solicitor Jim Jeffries declined to comment on the hearing, but said it is designed to give a municipal worker a chance to defend himself against accusations.

Sulc, who has been the parks and recreation director since September 2011, arrived to the township meeting 15 minutes after it began and did not speak during public comments. He politely declined to comment after the meeting.

The supervisors voted 4-0 to hold the hearing and table a measure to appoint a parks and recreation director. Supervisor Sonia Stopperich, who is dating Sulc, abstained from both votes and new Supervisor Harold Close paused at length before voting yes for each measure.

Questions were raised about Sulc’s cellphone usage when his phone number was included on the invitation of a fundraising event for Stopperich’s campaign for state House. Sulc, who is Stopperich’s assistant campaign treasurer, also sent an email from his township account on his work computer announcing her candidacy.

Close said after the vote that he wants the township to review and possibly update its policy regarding employee cellphone usage. The policy was written in 2000 and makes no mention of data usage, text messages, email or personal use for the phone.

“I’m sure you all know that back then (cellphones) just called people,” Close said. “They do a lot more nowadays. We need to do something to update it and protect our employees.”

Supervisor Brian Spicer suggested they also review the township’s computer policy.

“Both of those items need to be updated,” Spicer.

Earlier in the meeting, the supervisors appointed Spicer to become the board’s chairman and voted to install Supervisor Robert Balogh as the vice chairman. The board declined to make a decision on the township’s solicitor.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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