McCandless mum on probe into alleged misconduct by two cops put on paid leave
It’s been two weeks since McCandless officials announced that two members of the police department have been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is being conducted.
But town officials on Tuesday declined requests to release the names of the officers who are under investigation or the nature of the allegations against them.
“The town cannot provide any further details at this time due to the confidential nature of the investigation,” said Gavin Robb, the town’s attorney in an email Tuesday.
Councilman Greg Walkauskus said by telephone that council discussed the investigation during a lengthy executive session held before Monday night’s council meeting but that he could not provide any additional information about what was discussed.
“Someone at the meeting asked that we (council) enlighten them about what was going on, but this is a personnel matter that we are not at liberty to talk about publicly,” he said.
The town first announced that the officers were on paid leave in an Oct. 29 posting on social media.
Town officials also have declined to answer questions about who is heading the police department after news reports were published indicating that the chief, David DiSantis, was one of the people placed on leave.
DiSantis, who was hired in August 2016 to replace retiring chief Gary Anderson, did not attend Monday’s council meeting to give the chief’s report.
The report was instead delivered by Lt. Don O’Connor.
DiSantis could not be reached for comment.
Councilman Steve Mertz on Tuesday said the investigation, which is expected to be concluded by Nov. 21, is not being led by the town’s solicitor, but rather an attorney with experience in personnel matters.
“We’re (council) expecting to get a report about the matter at that time,” Mertz said.
Mertz reiterated comments he posted on social media that officials “are not hiding anything” from the public.
“As with all personnel matters, there are legal issues pertaining to discussion of any details until we know all of the information,” he wrote.” Until then, I assure you that all steps are being taken to be as fair as possible to all parties involved.”
Councilman Bill Kirk said the officers were placed on leave to protect the people involved.
“As previously reported, this is an internal personnel matter and so by its very nature is confidential,” Kirk wrote in an email. “Typically, paid administrative leave is used out of an abundance of caution to protect all parties involved during an internal review and is not a disciplinary action.”
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or [email protected] or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.