Sergeant promoted to police chief in Dormont

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Dormont has a new police chief. Sgt. Michael Bisignani, a 12-year veteran of the borough force, will replace Chief Phil Ross when his retirement takes effect March 3.

"People here have been great. They've taken me in as one of their own," Mr. Bisignani said after borough council unanimously approved his appointment Monday. "It's great for me to continue to work in Dormont."

Mr. Bisignani, 37, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School and the Allegheny County Police Training Academy, worked with Clairton police before joining the Dormont department as a patrolman in 2001. He was promoted to sergeant three years ago.

He said he plans to continue foot patrols in the business district and to work closely with Keystone Oaks School District and other local police departments to strengthen school security.

Council decided to advertise internally to replace Mr. Ross, who has been on the force for 29 years. Mr. Bisignani was among three candidates who were interviewed by council members in executive session on Jan. 19. His salary will be $90,492.42.

The department will promote from within to fill his sergeant's position and conduct interviews for two new patrolmen.

Bill McCartney, council president, said he and other council members debated whether to seek a new chief from outside the department, but they decided to look in-house first.

"We think it was a fair process, and we're convinced he is going to do a good job for us," Mr. McCartney said.

In other business at Monday's meeting:

• Wayne McVicar was hired as borough engineer, at a salary of $72,000.

The 2013 budget allots $70,000 for the new position. But Jeff Naftal, borough manager, said Mr. McVicar was the top candidate, and others sought at least $20,000 more per year.

"His background is well-suited to the borough, with significant experience in municipalities like ours," Mr. Naftal wrote in a memo to council. Mr. McVicar has more than 25 years of engineering experience in New Jersey.

The borough created the position as a cost-saving measure. In addition to the salary, another $35,000 is budgeted toward additional engineering services.

Mr. Naftal said he still anticipates an annual savings of about $150,000 for Dormont, which previously contracted with Green Tree-based Gateway Engineers.

• To provide an office for the engineer, council authorized the spending of up to $3,500 for renovations to the Dormont Municipal Center.

The offices of the police chief and Mayor Thomas Lloyd will be moved from the administration wing to the police department on the lower floor, into space that had been a meeting room.

"I would then be able to place the new borough engineer in the police chief's old office and move the recreation director into a larger office, and the code enforcement official into her own office," Mr. Naftal said in a memo.

He said borough staff members can perform the renovation work, and that the major expense will be the installation of doors to secure the new offices.

neigh_south

Harry Funk, freelance: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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