Cresson requests pleas court’s help in settlement dispute

CRESSON – A former police chief’s apparent refusal to sign a settlement agreement that would exchange financial compensation for his letter of resignation has forced Cresson Borough officials to petition the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas for enforcement.

Former Borough Police Chief Jeff Kopsic was suspended in December after he “suffered an adverse employment action,” according to a petition filed Monday at the Cambria County Courthouse by borough attorney Michael Parrish Jr.

It’s unclear what led to Kopsic’s suspension, but borough officials have said they don’t anticipate filing criminal charges against Kopsic after the settlement is finalized.

According to the petition, attorneys representing the borough and Kopsic met for a hearing Feb. 27, which Kopsic requested under the Police Tenure Act following his suspension.

The petition states that both parties reached an “amicable resolution of the dispute” during the hearing and went on the record with the hearing officer with the terms of a forthcoming settlement agreement and general release.

But after Altoona attorney Thomas M. Dickey, who represents Kopsic, received a copy of the settlement agreement March 7, communication ceased, according to the petition.

Dickey did not return calls for comment.

Parrish also did not return calls for comment but said in the petition that attorneys tried to contact Dickey via telephone and/or fax March 11, 19 and 26, and on April 7, 8, 9 and 10, with no success.

The borough is now asking the court to order Kopsic to sign the

agreement so it can be enforced.

Borough Council voted last month to pay Kopsic up to $2,500 for accrued sick leave, vacation and personal time, and to withdraw an appeal of unemployment compensation for Kopsic in exchange for his letter of resignation and finalization of the settlement.

A letter from Parrish to Dickey dated March 26 urged Dickey to move forward with the case.

Parrish stated that the deadline for the unemployment compensation claim “will soon be approaching,” and that, in order for the borough to withdraw its appeal, it would need to notify the Department of Labor.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.