Moosic Assistant Police Chief Files Suit Against Borough, Claims He Was Illegally Passed Over For Chief

February 1, 2019

A lawyer representing several Moosic officials is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the borough’s leaders erred when they didn’t promote the assistant police chief to the department’s top spot last year. Assistant Police Chief James Holland filed a lawsuit in December asking Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas to order Mayor James Segilia and borough council to remove Police Chief Rick Janesko and install Holland as chief. Holland’s attorney, John J. Holland, claims that Janesko’s appointment to chief directly violated a 1988 borough ordinance that states borough council “shall appoint one member of the Police Department to serve as Chief of Police,” according to the filing. Attorney John J. Brazil Jr., representing Janesko, Segilia and borough council, filed preliminary objections to the suit earlier this month, saying James Holland has no standing to seek an order from the court to have Janesko removed and himself appointed. Paperwork filed by Brazil also states that Holland “cited nothing” in the suit that dictates he has the right to be appointed chief, according to the filing. Brazil couldn’t be reached for further comment Thursday. According to the assistant chief’s lawsuit, James Holland told the mayor and borough council of his interest in the chief’s spot shortly after former Police Chief Charles Maurer announced his resignation in December 2017. However, borough council appointed Janesko, who served for close to 26 years with the state police but wasn’t at the time a member of the borough police force, as acting police chief on Jan. 2, 2018. In March, borough council voted to make Janesko the permanent chief, which James Holland claims violates the ordinance because the wording denotes the chief must be pulled from within the ranks of the borough police, according to the lawsuit. “James Holland is the highest ranking, the most senior, and the sole eligible member of the Moosic Borough Police Department to apply for the Moosic Borough Police Department Chief of Police position,” John J. Holland wrote in the suit. The attorney also noted in the suit that his client reached out to the state attorney general’s office about the issue, but in November, the office declined to handle the matter. He and his client also notified the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office in October but did not hear a response, according to the suit. Contact the writer: cover@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5363; @ClaytonOver on Twitter

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