Council waiting for resignation letter

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Jeannette council wants to appoint a new city treasurer. The problem is that the old treasurer hasn't issued a formal letter of resignation, even though he hasn't been in the office for nearly a month.

Last month, Sam Casino verbally informed council that he was resigning, effective Monday of this week, from the office that he has held for three terms.

He did not, however, put his resignation in writing.

At its agenda meeting Monday night, council discussed appointing Michael Nestico to fill Mr. Casino's unexpired term as treasurer.

Mr. Casino, a Democrat, was to face off against Mr. Nestico, a Republican, in the November election for the post, which includes the duties of collecting city, school district and county taxes.

Council said it would like to make the appointment at its regular monthly business meeting Wednesday, but solicitor Scott Avolio advised that the city should first obtain a written letter of resignation from Mr. Casino.

"I want to get this out of the way," Mayor Robert Carter said. "I talked to Mr. Nestico and he said he'd be willing to step up and try to get started immediately."

According to Mr. Carter, Mr. Casino had not been to work since announcing his resignation June 17. He had cleaned out his office and removed his desk, the mayor explained.

Since his departure, the treasurer's office has been manned by a full-time and part-time employee. City clerk Michael Minyon said he has occasionally helped out.

Mr. Casino could not be reached for comment immediately following news of his resignation.

On Tuesday, however, he talked about the matter and said his sudden departure was due mostly to the staffing cuts council made in his office.

"I've got nobody left" to run the office, said Mr. Casino, who noted that when he assumed the office in 2001, it had three full-time and two part-time employees. He said council unilaterally decided not to fill vacancies, although the city pays only one-third of the office's payroll. The remainder is split between the school district and county.

Mr. Casino said he hadn't provided a written resignation because "I didn't feel like it."

He doesn't believe he is required to do so, he said, but he was planning on submitting something to the city by Wednesday so that council could proceed with Mr. Nestico's appointment.

"They're not my boss. The taxpayers are my boss," he said.

As for why he has not been in the office, Mr. Casino pointed out that as treasurer he's not required to be there. "I could have done business out of my home," he said. "But, I was a very visible treasurer."

He also addressed questions about his salary. He said he nets $201.98 every two weeks from the city. "That comes to $2.89 per hour," he said.

He said his pay is the same that was given to his predecessor and he didn't ask for a raise because "the city couldn't afford it."

Added to the same pay from the school district and county, Mr. Casino said his net pay is about $9 per hour.

In the meantime, the question remains as to whether Mr. Casino's name will remain on the ballot in the general election or if the county Democratic Committee will appoint someone to run in his place.

"I'm the only one who can withdraw my name," Mr. Casino said. "I haven't made up my mind yet."

If Mr. Casino does not withdraw his name from the ballot, he could possibly win election to his fourth term in office.

Under the state's Third Class City Code, council has 30 days from Mr. Casino's official date of resignation to appoint someone as his replacement. Afterward, an appointment to the post could be made Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

neigh_east

Linda Metz, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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