Monroeville mayor vetoes two ordinances

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Monroeville's mayor Tuesday night vetoed two ordinances despite an opinion from the municipal solicitor that the vetoes aren't legally valid.

Mayor Greg Erosenko vetoed one ordinance that moved the supervision of the collection of Act 511 taxes from the elected tax collector's office to the manager's office. Among other reasons, he said, recently appointed manager Lynette McKinney isn't qualified to supervise the collecting of 511 taxes, which include the earned income tax, business privilege tax and others.

He also vetoed an ordinance setting salary and benefits for Ms. McKinney, again citing her qualifications and "the will of the residents."

"That would be like having my wife, [a secretary in a doctor's office], "take over as CEO of UPMC East or Forbes," Mr. Erosenko said.

Ms. McKinney has more than 20 years of experience in the municipality, including two stints as interim manager. However, she has an associate degree, while past managers have been required to have at least a bachelor's degree, although the borough does not have a specific provision that sets minimum education requirements for the manager.

Bruce Dice, Monroeville's solicitor, said Mr. Erosenko's vetoes are "void and have no legal effect."

Mr. Erosenko said he would employ a little-used provision in the Pennsylvania borough code that allows for mayors to spend $2,500 of municipal funds to challenge legislation passed by council.

"Some issues will be decided in court," Mr. Erosenko said after Mr. Dice rattled off his reasons that the vetoes are invalid.

Councilwoman Diane Allison noted that this is the second time Mr. Erosenko has vetoed Ms. McKinney's pay -- he vetoed her salary increase after she was appointed interim manager in January, saying it put the manager's office over budget. Ms. Allison said she sees the veto as retaliation against Ms. McKinney, who filed a complaint against Mr. Erosenko alleging he repeatedly threatened and harassed her.

Mr. Erosenko has said the vetoes are not retaliatory.

Council members also discussed the hiring of William P. Bresnahan III, an attorney with Dickie McCarney & Chilcote, to serve as special counsel for a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigation involving the municipality.

The department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating allegations that proprietary information from Monroeville's 911 dispatch center was released in violation of federal privacy law. An August 2012 complaint to the Office for Civil Rights alleged the municipality's emergency management service provided health information protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, to a former police chief via email.

"The municipality ... is conducting a thorough and extensive investigation to determine if any breaches of the Electronic Data Storage system occurred," a municipal news release said. "Until the investigation is completed, the municipality has been advised by special counsel not to comment so as not to [compromise] the integrity of the investigation."

neigh_east

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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