Resolved: Leetsdale settles wrongful discharge suit
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After months of discord between Leetsdale borough and a former clerk who had been fired, a resolution has been reached.
Attorney Christine Elzer confirmed that her client, Sandra Bajsec, did not revoke an out-of-court settlement that had been approved by borough council July 12. Ms. Bajsec had until July 19 to reject the agreement.
Mrs. Bajsec, the wife of former councilman Michael Bajsec, will receive $37,000 in cash and has agreed not to reapply for work with the borough.
Ms. Elzer described the agreement, which resolves a federal lawsuit, as "a fair resolution." She said her client is "happy to be moving on from this."
Council President Joe McGurk said the settlement amount will be covered by a borough insurance policy less the $2,500 deductible.
The borough admits no wrongdoing. He reconfirmed that Mrs. Bajsec, who had the title of junior clerk, was fired by the borough as part of a campaign pledge to restructure borough staffing.
He said the settlement arose from a mediation session on June 20. According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Mrs. Bajsec sought reinstatement to her position.
At the time of her firing, she was earning about $28,000. She had been hired July 2010 as a part-time administrative assistant. Her husband had been appointed to council four months earlier.
He was defeated in the November general election.
During a 2011 campaign, residents Mr. McGurk, Jefferey Weatherby, Melanie Dunn and Linda Michael pledged to fire borough manager Paul Scimio -- a former councilman -- and eliminate his position as well as that of the junior clerk. As secretary-treasurer, Elizabeth Petalino would be the chief administrative employee. A two-decade employee, she had been named senior clerk after the borough manager position was created in 2010. In June, the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission publicly released a decision following the agency's investigation into allegations that Mr. Scimio had misused his power as an elected councilman to secure the job of borough manager. The agency determined that he had not. However, it did find that Mr. Scimio had wrongly charged expenses to a borough-issued credit card for two "Christmas appreciation dinners" in 2008 and 2009 for himself and some members of the borough police department. The borough council had not authorized the dinners prior to their being held.
A consent agreement has been reached between the parties, and Mr. Scimio has agreed to repay the borough the $1,000-plus credit card charges.
First Published July 26, 2012 5:05 am