North Versailles commission cleans house
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A sharply divided North Versailles Board of Commissioners voted to overhaul its membership last Thursday, unseating its president and vice president and firing the township solicitor.
Commissioners Kash Snyder and Frank Bivins were appointed president and vice president, replacing Dennis Dull and his son, Bryan, respectively.
Bonnie Brimmeier, who had served as the township's solicitor since last January, was replaced by attorney Greg Evashavik, who was solicitor before Ms. Brimmeier's appointment.
Two factions of the commission have been at odds over the 2009 budget, with Bryan Dull and Sean McGuire offering radically different budget proposals.
Mr. Dull's proposal calls for a 3-mill tax increase to sustain the current staffing of the township's police department. It was preliminarily approved at the beginning of December, but was voted down at a Dec. 31 meeting, when Mr. McGuire offered another proposal.
His budget calls for the layoffs of five part-time police officers and two full-time officers and a 1.5-mill increase, which drew protests from angry residents who say that cutting the police force would jeopardize the safety of the town.
Dennis Dull said a few hundred turned out to protest the possible laying off of police.
The commission will vote on Mr. McGuire's proposal Monday.
Commissioner George Beswick said his decision to unseat the Dulls was based on his opinion that they "ill-managed" the township's finances, driving the township further into debt. Bills have gone unpaid, leading to the shutoff of the lights in the municipal building's parking lot yesterday.
"We just believed that in order to straighten out the financial problems, this is what we needed to do," Mr. Beswick said. He said the commission's decision was "purely financial" and not political.
Many in his ward cannot afford a 3-mill increase, he said, and would likely not be able to pay.
Dennis Dull said he believed he and his son were removed, in large part, because the other commissioners opposed Bryan's budget proposal. But he said the commissioners who supported laying off police did not have the township's financial situation in mind. Rather, they have "personal vendettas" against police.
Mr. Beswick would not comment on why he voted to fire Ms. Brimmeier. Dennis Dull, who voted to keep Ms. Brimmeier, said other commissioners were looking to return to "old politics."
First Published January 22, 2009 6:35 am