North Strabane Township’s parks and recreation director has been suspended indefinitely with pay as the township investigates whether he participated in political activities while on work time.
Greg Sulc was suspended from his job by township Manager Frank Siffrinn after the board of supervisors’ workshop meeting Feb. 18, and he was required to turn over his taxpayer-funded cellphone and work vehicle.
The suspension will remain in effect until a disciplinary hearing is held at 7 p.m. March 19, when Sulc will be permitted to defend himself against any accusations brought forward by the township. The hearing will be private unless Sulc decides to open it to the public.
Supervisors Chairman Brian Spicer said Monday the supervisors were not a part of the decision to indefinitely suspend Sulc. However, they could decide during their March 25 voting meeting to overturn the suspension, extend the suspension or even terminate Sulc from his position.
Spicer said the investigation centers around an email Sulc sent to the media from his work account Feb. 12 announcing the candidacy of township Supervisor Sonia Stopperich for state House of Representatives. Sulc, who is dating Stopperich and is her assistant campaign treasurer, also attended the League of Women Voters legislative luncheon with her at Springhill Suites in Trinity Point during work hours Feb. 14.
Spicer said they are investigating whether he was conducting political work on township time.
“It’s something we’re looking into,” Spicer said about the email. “(The luncheon) is something that might be an issue, as well.”
Stopperich abstained from votes to schedule the disciplinary hearing.
Sulc could not be reached for comment because his township cellphone, which he said was his only phone, has been disconnected since the suspension. Another worker is continuing his daily tasks of maintaining the parks and fields, and township secretaries are scheduling events for the summer, Spicer said.
Sulc recently has been the subject of a state Ethics Commission investigation into his appointment to the parks and recreation position in 2011. The commission is investigating his appointment to the $60,000-a-year job moments after resigning from the board of supervisors, and is expected to rule later this year. The commission held hearings in Pittsburgh Feb. 3 and 4.