Township supervisor expects to be firedEdit

Source: Richard Gazarik, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, July 14, 2006

A Washington Township supervisor said he expects to be fired from his job with the township water authority when its board of directors holds a special meeting Friday afternoon to discuss his future.

Chuck Yusko, a 20-year employee of the Washington Township Municipal Authority in Fayette County, returned to work Monday but was ordered to go home.

Yusko has spent the past nine months convalescing from injuries he suffered during a beating, allegedly from the son of a fellow supervisor.

"Oh, yeah. I expect to be fired," he said Thursday.

Yusko returned to his job Monday after being threatened with dismissal in a letter signed by Melvin Weiss, chairman of the authority and the man whom Yusko defeated for supervisor in last year's election.

Two hours after he started work cutting grass Monday, Yusko was ordered to leave by Joe Alvarez, the plant manager.

"I was told to go home because I wasn't cutting the grass right," Yusko said.

Yusko received a medical release from his physician clearing him to work. He faced a July 13 deadline to return to work or be fired. He is a member of Local 3403 of the United Steelworkers union, which has filed a grievance on his behalf.

The authority was closed Tuesday but Yusko again was sent home Wednesday and Thursday when he showed up for work. He plans to report to work this morning.

Alvarez said he could not discuss the matter because it's a labor issue.

"There's a special meeting. That's all I can say," Alvarez said. "I don't know where this is going to go."

Attorney Tim Fedele, of Greensburg, who represents the authority on labor issues, said "no decision has been made on Chuck Yusko's employment status."

Yusko said he believes he will be fired because he won't seek the withdrawal of criminal charges against Michael Latkanich, son of fellow supervisor Joanne Latkanich.

"They're trying to pressure me to drop everything," Yusko said.

Michael Latkanich, 30, was charged with aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment, disorderly conduct and terroristic threats.

Last fall, Yusko was standing outside the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department when he was hit from behind. He fell to the ground and was pummeled by his assailant. He suffered a broken nose, two broken ribs, a herniated disk and facial injuries.

The case is being prosecuted by the State Attorney General's Office rather than Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon because Vernon is a friend of Latkanich's mother.

Weiss, who had served with Joanne Latkanich on the board of supervisors, did not respond to a request for comment left at his home.

Joanne Latkanich said she doesn't know anything about Yusko's employment status and denied it has anything to do with the criminal charges against her son.

"I know nothing about that," she said. "I'm a little upset being blamed for nothing I had to do with."

Michael Latkanich, who also works at the water authority, has been suspended from his job since the incident and could be fired if he is convicted.

During his election campaign, Yusko had raised questions about finances involving the township and its fire department.

Among the issues he raised was the sale of the department's social hall to Michael Latkanich in 2001 for $35,000, even though the building is assessed at more than $100,000. Latkanich converted the hall into a bar and tried selling the business for $250,000. Joanne Latkanich said last year the business is no longer on the market.

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