Judge OKs Cresson’s deal with ex-chief

A Cambria County judge ruled in favor of Cresson Borough Tuesday, ordering enforcement of a settlement agreement between the borough and its former police chief.

Judge Patrick Kiniry issued a one-page order saying that, after reviewing information filed by both parties, Cresson has the right to enforce a settlement agreement with Jeff Kopsic.

Kopsic told Kiniry at a hearing last month that he didn’t sign the agreement because he believed Borough Council had violated its terms – within weeks of reaching it – by announcing his impending resignation at a March meeting.

“I was going to be permitted to resign of my own free will to save face,” Kopsic said at the time. “It was in the paper and all over the news.”

He said council told reporters about his December suspension, further damaging his reputation.

In addition, the borough was supposed to provide letters of recommendation for him, but the proposed settlement agreement said the borough wasn’t obligated to do so.

Kopsic had spent 12 years with the police department, eight of them as police chief, before he was suspended in December. Council remained mum for months, declining to talk about the case and noting only that the matter was not criminal.

In February, Kopsic and the borough reached an agreement for him to resign; in exchange, he would be paid for accrued sick leave, vacation and personal time, and the borough would withdraw an appeal of unemployment compensation against him.

But after a settlement agreement and release was drafted, Kopsic refused to sign it.

Weeks went by without a response from him or his attorney, Thomas M. Dickey, according to borough attorneys.

In April, the borough took Kopsic to court looking for a judge to enforce it.

In his order, Kiniry gave Kopsic five days to execute his portion of the settlement agreement.

The agreement remains under seal.

Neither borough attorneys nor Dickey returned calls for comment.