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Personnel Changes Top Agenda at Duquesne Council

By Cami DiBattista
The Tube City Almanac
June 19, 2018
Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne has done away with a requirement that police officers live within the city.

At last week's meeting, Mayor Nickole Nesby said Duquesne eliminated the rule so that the city can make an "honest effort" to make sure all races and both sexes are represented on the police force.

She publicly encouraged potential candidates to apply for openings in the police department.

Council approved police Chief Tom Dunlevy’s recommendation to offer a permanent position within the department to Lee Bartalicius. In other personnel moves, council accepted the retirement of longtime employee Jeanne Dowdle and voted to name Quincy Zitelli the city's acting code enforcement officer.

Council voted to terminate code enforcement officer Allan Chiesi. Nesby said the city would make no public comment about Chiesi's termination.

On Nesby's recommendation, council also ratified the appointment of LaTara Jones as the city's communications director.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Rev. Peter Roy asked why city Treasurer David Bires has not been attending council meetings. He questioned whether council is receiving regular reports from Bires and asked if it would be possible to have him sanctioned because, Roy said, “he is providing a disservice to the city.”

Several Duquesne residents said that council members who are not willing to give their all to support the mayor and the city should "step down and resign."

Concerns also were expressed by several residents regarding blighted properties, including a house at the corner of Sixth and Kennedy streets. Residents said the building is collapsing and wildlife is inhabiting the property, posing a danger to those in the neighborhood.

Council said that the house is currently on the demolition list but that its owner is fighting the process in court.

Nesby asked residents to report the addresses of blighted properties so the city can add them to an official list where they will be prioritized. Forms, which can be submitted anonymously, can be found in city hall, she said.

Resident Sheldon Morris asked council to revisit its rules regarding the collection of fees for water bills. Morris said that a tenant in a building he owns ran up $4,000 in water bills by abusing the current system. The tenant's services should have been terminated, he said.
Council said the utilities committee met recently to talk about ways to collect delinquent and past-due water accounts, and to find ways to work with landlords and tenants, and increase participation by residents.

The committee is also trying to build a better relationship with the PA One Call System, council said.

In other business, City Manager Che Sayles reported that the city is currently doing a review of all vendors and operations.

“Our review will include but not be limited to all scopes of services, cost of services and the impact on the city’s residents and services,” Sayles said.

Council voted 3-0 to terminate the services of Fusion Investment Group and C.S. McKee for all services, including pension and retirement plans, and to approve the purchase of a financial management system from Safe Choice Software Solutions for $23,592. Council said the current software system is outdated.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics, including municipal news from Duquesne and White Oak, for Tube City Almanac. She can be reached at cad316@gmail.com.

Originally published June 19, 2018.

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