Monroeville manager threatened after firing former police chief

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Police are investigating a threatening letter left at the home of municipal manager Lynette McKinney last week.

Police Chief Steven Pascarella said police are awaiting results from the crime lab.

"It's credible enough that we're taking additional precautions," he said without elaboration.

Ms. McKinney said today she was "disturbed" by suggestions in the community that the letter was placed by Ms. McKinney herself.

"Not only was I threatened, but my husband and children have been threatened," Ms. McKinney said in an emailed statement today. "Anyone who has read the threat knows that it was written by a disturbed individual.

"The suggestion that I did it myself is almost as insulting and inappropriate as the threat itself."

The typewritten letter was found in a side door at Ms. McKinney's home Thursday evening.

"You are going to regret what you did yesterday to Doug Cole," the letter read, referring to former Monroeville police Chief Cole's termination on Sept. 11. "In fact you may enjoy some of your last days on earth. Cause I am going to make you suffer until you stop breathing.

"I know where your daughters are and I know where your husband works. They will suffer too. You all better watch your backs for you will not know what hit you."

Despite the threats, Ms. McKinney said she will not resign.

"I think by now the residents see that I will continue to handle my responsibilities as municipal manager with dignity and pride for this community and I will not be bullied," she wrote in the statement.

The municipality has been divided since August 2012, when then-Assistant Chief Pascarella filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleging emergency responders violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, by improperly accessing privileged health information.

In the wake of that accusation, then-Chief Cole was demoted to sergeant, placed on paid administrative leave and, ultimately, terminated last week. Former municipal manager Jeff Silka resigned early this year, and Ms. McKinney, a longtime municipal secretary, was promoted to the manager position. A bloc of four council members who voted to appoint Ms. McKinney to the manager's job and who almost always vote together -- Diane Allison, Lois Drumheller, Bernhard Erb and Clarence Ramsey -- were either voted out or opted not to run for another term on council.

A July report from a private investigator hired by Monroeville claimed the municipality's 911 dispatch center was regularly accessed by unauthorized individuals and placed ultimate responsibility on Mr. Cole.

region - neigh_east

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


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