The Captain’s Back.


Barnes Returns to Dormont Dogs

Barnes Returns to Dormont Dogs (Dormont-Brookline Patch)

So, you may remember my earlier blog post about Dormont Dogs, the Captain’s newsworthy actions, and the family.  If not, you may want to read that one first.  If so, you may want to check out this article from the Dormont-Brookline Patch:

It’s a great article, soiled by crude comments (as are many things found on the internet).  I’ve already shown my support by simply being a patron, been “vocal” about my support in blog form, and via comments.  I’d like to add some more thoughts here.

Captain committed some illegal acts.  He was arrested, sentenced, and served his time.  In the eyes of the law, he’s paid his due.  It should be settled there, but some of you apparently don’t agree.  You look for further condemnation for whatever reasons… a perceived higher moral standard, some internal guilt, jealousy if you felt you’ve ever been punished too harshly for something, or just plain anger.

Dormont Dogs on UrbanspoonCaptain has put it all out there.  He’s admitted guilt, apologized to his family & the community, and he’s ready to move on.  You can take the high road, and let him move past this & give him room to prove that he’s worthy of forgiveness.

Mainly, my whole message here is about forgiveness.  It’s a simple thing to think about, and to talk about…but it can be extremely difficult to ask for or to give. It doesn’t matter what the situation may be.  It doesn’t matter if it’s serious or simple.  It does no one any good to hold on to anger or any sort of grudge or agenda.

Most major religions teach forgiveness.  I believe there’s a dual purpose outside of the divine.  When you find it within yourself to drop the urge to pass judgement and forgive someone, a great weight is lifted off of you.  You can physically feel it if your anger or resentment is strong enough.  Try it.  Let go of the negative.  It doesn’t do anyone any good.  Leave judgement to the authorities and ultimately whatever higher power you subscribe to.

As for this current situation, a comment by Mike Jones sums it up nicely:

We can’t condone what he did, but it does take a lot of guts to stand up and apologize to the community for embarrassing it. Hopefully he is able to give back to Dormont in a way that would atone for his crimes more than probation or jailtime ever could.

An enlightened sentiment, eloquently stated.

To end on a light note…  Johnny Cash was all about forgiving and rehabilitation… all those prison concerts.  Who are we to argue with Johnny Cash?

Dormont-Brookline Patch


Dormont-Brookline Patch LogoSo, I’ve been a reader of the Dormont-Brookline Patch for a while now.  It’s sort of like an online local paper.  I’ve even commented on quite a few things.  There’s all kinds of stuff going on in these two neighborhoods, as well as the surrounding areas.  It’s a great way to stay informed, and it’s one of the first things I added to Google Reader.

AiXeLsyD13I recently became a blogger on the patch, and you’ll be able to follow my rantings & misadventures here: AiXeLsyD13 on Patch

It will most likely be short blurbs pointing to the general chaos here, but every once in a while I may be inspired to give it some exclusive content.  Maybe I’ll blog about local events, places, etc., or maybe even some personal stuff like food allergies.

Check out my introductory post:

I’m new here.

Have any thoughts/advice?  Think it’s a good introduction?  What should I blog about there?  Should it focus on the area?

The One Hour Dry Cleaning Myth


Don’t ever go to Century Cleaners on Brookline Blvd. in Brookline.  They’re incredibly rude, unprofessional, and a bunch of false advertisers.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

We had a large amount of things going on this past weekend.  My wife’s grandmother passed away early on Thursday morning, her parents were set to close on their old house (her childhood home) & the new one on Friday, we were helping them move along with some extended family on Saturday, there was the viewing Sunday and the Funeral was Monday.

I had just worn my suit in a good friend’s wedding last Tuesday morning, which is another story entirely… but I needed my suit cleaned.  No one wants to be the smelly kid, & I had some wrinkles on the butt of the jacket.  I wanted it to look sharply pressed for the weekend.  Unfortunately, I only have one suit, and planned to wear it twice this weekend with a different shirt & tie.  With the frequency which I actually wear it, one has suited (pun intended) me well.  Perhaps another is in order.

Bethany had the day off on Friday to process everything going on with her Grandma, her parents’ move, & more… so she decided to use it to get some errands done.  I found what I thought to be a one-hour cleaner or at least same day service cleaners online Thursday night, as Model Cleaners (where regularly take stuff) doesn’t offer a same-day service.

I quickly came up with the Century Cleaners profile at the Dormont-Brookline Patch, and this is the description I read:

Dry cleaning establishments have long been a fixture at 1200 Brookline Boulevard and Century Cleaners has done business in this location for eight years. They offer same day service, as well as alterations, drapery cleaning and rehanging and wedding gown preservation. All of Century’s work is done on the premises.

  • Hours: Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm; Sat, 8am – 2pm
  • Parking: Free lot, On-street: free
  • Services: Alterations, Dry cleaning, Ironing, Leather cleaning

These were among the photos that I saw at the listing…

Century Cleaners - False Advertising

Century Cleaners’ Blatant False Advertising (Photo Credit: Annette Bassett Sanchez, Dormont-Brookline Patch)

So, that little sign on the side advertises “SAME DAY SERVICE” pretty largely, right?  The neon sign right in the middle of the name above the door boasts “1 HR. DRY CLEANING“, right?

They clearly had no intention of providing either service on Friday.

My wife was there in the 9:00 hour, and asked about the 1 hour service.  This was the first of several local errands for the day.  Right away she was met with resistance, and asked what the suit was needed for.  At this point, what does it matter?  Whether it’s needed for a job interview, a funeral, a wedding, a TV appearance, for first contact with aliens at midnight, or just lounging around the house… urgent completion was requested.

She then asked about same-day service.  Again, “When do you need it by?”

Again, what does it matter?  Whether we’re meeting the pope and the president this afternoon or going to shoot a porn movie, what business is it of theirs?  She requested one hour service, is now deferring to same day.  It was 9:00am and the were open until 6:00pm.  The sign boasts that they do the work there & don’t send it out.  Surely that would be enough time to clean a suit… even if there were many other urgent cleanings ahead of us in line?

I could almost see being denied same-day service at 4:00 or 5:00pm, but 9:00am?  That’s just ludicrous.

Already harrowed from everything going on, and in shock from being argued with by someone behind the counter at a service-oriented business, she told them that we needed the suit for a funeral on Saturday, and they negotiated to a pickup first thing in the morning.  She asked what time they opened on Saturday and they said 7:00am, so that was that.  We thought.

We were to be at her parent’s old house by 7:30am that Saturday to start to help with the move, so 7:00 was cutting it close.  We stopped & bought donuts, got some ice for the water in the cooler, and were parked on the street in front of the dry cleaners’ at 6:55am.  A woman arrived shortly before seven, propped the door open, & went inside.  I gave her a few minutes to get settled then walked in shortly after 7:00am, ticket in hand.

The woman was in the back of the room behind miles of clothing hung on racks, and I had a few minutes to soak in my surroundings.  Paint and/or wall-paper of several different layers was peeling from the walls.  There is a cluttered desk by the front window that must serve as the office… not sure why it’s not behind the counter or the counter isn’t adjusted to make it fit.  It seemed rather unclean for being a professional cleaning service.

The woman wove her way up front and greeted me friendly enough.  I handed over my ticket and declared that I was there to pick up my suit that had been dropped off yesterday.  She looked at my ticket, and then at a ticket hanging by itself on a wire behind the counter next to a few articles of clothing that held their tickets.  She looked at the ticket hanging by itself, then back at me.  She asked what it was for.

I was exasperated at this point.  What does what it’s for have to do with anything?  Maddeningly irrelevant questions and repetition of questions are the two things that get under my skin instantly.  I remarked that it was for a funeral.  She said “oh, it’s not for a wedding?”

This has nothing to do with the location of my suit, or why its matching ticket was hanging alone on a wire behind the counter.  I reaffirmed that it was not for a wedding, but a funeral.  My answers undoubtedly became short and quiet at this point, but I remained polite.  Seeming to be the only one capable of asking relevant questions I asked “So, where’s my suit?”

At this point, the phone rang and she was asking someone about the suit.  I told her that my wife had been there at 9:00am the previous day, had requested one hour, then same day service… and was told the earliest we could get it was upon the shop opening in the morning.  She asked what time I was told we could get it.

Wow.  I reiterated that we were told it would be ready at 7:00am.  I’m sure I was visibly agitated at this point.  The woman looked at me like I was a bomb about to go off.

After a hushed conversation with the mystery person on the other end of the phone line, she disappeared into the mass of clothes hanging behind the counter.  She eventually popped back out with my suit.  It wasn’t on a hanger.  It was much more wrinkled than it was when Bethany had dropped it off.  It was apparently on the side of a bin or on the floor somewhere in the back overnight.

She stuttered as she told me that it hadn’t been cleaned and asked when I needed it by.

Really?

I said, “Well, yesterday.”

If I was going to be asked stupid questions, I was going to give stupid answers.

Pointing to the sign in the window, I asked how they could advertise 1 hour service if they clearly have no intentions of providing such a service.

The woman muttered something about it being an “orange” ticket and it meant it was a rush… but then it trailed off. She never even acknowledged my question.  She picked the pinned tags off of my suit and placed the rumpled mess on the counter.  I wasn’t offered any solutions.  I wasn’t offered an apology.  I wasn’t offered a free service.  I wasn’t offered a rush cleaning & delivery.  I wasn’t offered anything but my suit in a ball of wrinkles.

I never raised my voice.  I never uttered a curse word.  I never asked her how she was going to rectify the situation… because at this point I had absolutely no confidence in any service that they could possibly hope to provide.  The only acceptable thing at this point would have been for them to pay for one hour service at some other dry cleaner… but I’m sure that wouldn’t be an option to them.  They could offer me free dry cleaning for life at this point and it wouldn’t get me to ever drop anything off there.

Even if they had offered to clean it, they closed at 2:00pm, and with the move happening on the northern end of town, there was no way I could be back by then.  I mean, we had to go through a tunnel and over a bridge.  This is insanity in Pittsburgh.

I got back into the car and uttered something to the effect of “I can’t believe it, they didn’t clean my suit.”  Although, it was peppered with and punctuated by expletives.  My wife looked at me like I had just told her that I was Batman.  It was a look of utter disbelief.  She knew I wasn’t joking because I was quiet.  Generally I get quite quiet when I’m angry.  She said that she shouldn’t have left it there in the first place… but what were we to do?  They were the only place that advertised 1 hour or even same day service… even if they didn’t deliver.

We swung over to another local cleaner in Dormont.  They don’t advertise 1 hour cleaning or even same day service… but I thought it may be worth a shot.  They didn’t open until 7:30, and it was still only about a quarter after.  I had my wife call her dad because he had told us of a place in the north hills that does do same-day service as advertised.  That was the direction we were heading, so it was probably the only chance I had of getting a clean suit at this point.

My father-in-law recommended Don Royal Cleaners on Mt. Royal Blvd. in Shaler.  That’s where we went.  It wasn’t far from where they were moving, so it wasn’t too out of the way to make the drop-off.  My wife called the cleaners as we were en route to make sure they they did indeed offer same day service and what their hours were.  They were open.  We stopped.  The place was spotless & had elegant marble counter tops.  The girl at the register was friendly.  She took my wrinkled suit and smiled when we asked what time we could get it back that day.  I think they told us 2:00 or 3:00pm.  They were open until 8:00pm, so that gave us plenty of time to help her parents with the move & to swing back down to Shaler on the way home to pickup my hopefully clean & pressed suit.

The move went off without a hitch, and the suit was picked up without a problem.  We attended the viewing & funeral in Fairchance on Sunday & Monday and I was looking like a car salesman or like I was about to knock on your door & hand you The Book of Mormon or a Watchtower pamphlet.

Perhaps I should have had my weekend itinerary typed up for Century Cleaners?  Was it my error?  I could have pinned it to the suit or put it in the pocket.  I’m going to have to work on some amusing answers if I’m ever asked such irrelevant questions in the future.  What’s the suit for?  It’s for a a con scheme where I have to appear well-dressed and wealthy in order to swindle someone out of their money.  When do I need it by?  1:15am, on October 25th, 1985.

When you order a pizza, the person taking your order doesn’t ask what it’s for or when you need it by.  Can you imagine calling a pizza joint and them asking “Is this for a birthday party?  Can you pick it up tomorrow?”

How can these places advertize that they’re “1 hour” or “same day service” when they clearly can’t handle it, or don’t even intend to?  Do they think you’re padding when you need something by?  It shouldn’t matter.  You should get it when you ask for it to be done.  You’re paying them to provide a service.

I’ve run into this years before with a cleaner in Murrysville (They have a different name/owner now, so I won’t call them out).  They too never answered the one-hour question.  They just stared at me blankly.  I believe that was just a shirt & tie… not even a full suit.

Is this a conspiracy?  Does it involve the Freemasons & the Illuminati?  Should we call Brad Meltzer and the History Channel?

I see from searching online that another place nearby does offer same-day service… Has anyone dealt with Suburban Dry Cleaners?  They look rather reputable and they have a nice clean website… something Century Cleaners lacked.  Then again, I can’t find one for Don Royal either, and they were great.

So, how should they have handled the situation?  What should they have done as compensation?

Should I write them a letter or send them this blog?  Should I write & ask why they don’t provide 1-hour service?  I could call, but that’s not entertaining for the reader unless I can learn to record my phone calls.

Should I just put up a bad review on every review site I can find?

Should I complain to the Better Business Bureau?  How does that even work?  It’s only the cleaning of a suit, it’s not like they lost or destroyed it… or it was a thousand-dollar service.  It’s just incredibly aggravating.

Should I write to other dry cleaners and ask them how they would have handled such a situation?

Has this ever happened to you at the dry cleaner, or anywhere else?

How would you handle or how have you handled this situation?

Does 1 hour dry cleaning even exist anywhere?  How can they get away with advertising a service that they can’t or won’t provide?

I need something to put my junk in.


So, recently I’ve been thinking about getting some sort of messenger bag to keep some stuff in.  Let the jokes begin.  I know I have made fun of the vaunted murse before.  Hipsters everywhere would have admonished my belittling of their manbags.

Jim Dunlop Tortex Fin Pick 1.14mm (Purple)I just have too much stuff in my pockets.  Here’s an inventory for you right now…

I’ve also been carrying around my leather coat that’s like my own personal medicine cabinet.  It’s too hot to be carrying around a leather jacket, and the stuff is too bulky for hoodie pockets.  (It’ll be too hot to wear those soon, too.)  It usually has…

  • Daily stomach medicine
  • “Calm down if I need it” medicine

And right now some…

This is clearly getting out of hand.  I’m not sure what to do, but I need to do something.  There’s an old Dennis the Menace cartoon (or the TV show or a movie) where he empties his pockets and it’s a never-ending pile of stuff.  I feel like that, without the slingshot or overalls.

I joked with my wife one night that I needed a purse to keep all my stuff in.  Then I kept thinking that it might not be a bad idea to get a bookbag or something.  I have a nice backpack for the laptop… but I don’t have the need to carry the laptop anywhere daily.

I did take the discussion to Twitter, and gained encouragement from @allergicgirl, @VickysMama & @kyledine.

https://twitter.com/#!/kyledine/status/191867530833428481
https://twitter.com/#!/kyledine/status/190908291054977024
https://twitter.com/#!/allergicgirl/status/190866006305013760
https://twitter.com/#!/allergicgirl/status/191142565410635777

I feel like if I had a backpack, I’d be obligated to fill it with stuff.  I could fill a messenger bag with a bunch of stuff easily.  A multi-tool, an mp3 player, maybe a tablet & more pens.

I could get a small one, like Indiana Jones.  I fear I’d look more like Alan from The Hangover.  Big?  Small?  Leather?  Suede?  Canvas?  Nylon?  Patches?  No Patches?  (I could go the safety-pin, 1″ button, patch route.)  So many decisions.

Perception vs. Reality?

Perception vs. Reality?

My wife, Bethany, seems to think I won’t carry it, might lose it, or that the infatuation would quickly wear off.  Maybe she just doesn’t want  a husband that carries a purse?

I don’t see the fanny pack or those epi pen belt holders as an option.  Maybe a leg one?  And maybe a small pill box?

What do you think?

Look out for your drunken friends. I’m just sayin’.


Check out the latest police blotter from my friendly little neighborhood…

Dormont Police Blotter March 17 to March 30

The following information was supplied by Dormont Police. Where arrests or charges are mentioned, it does not indicate a conviction.  |  By Erin Faulk

March 17

  • Dormont Police were called to a home in the 1300 block of Mississippi Avenue for a report of a male who had been a guest in the home but was refusing to leave. [Some Dude], 20, of Beechview, was cited for underage drinking.

March 18

  • A man was charged with simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child after police were called to a home in the 1600 block of Montpelier Avenue for a report of a violent domestic. The incident occurred at 7:45 p.m.

March 19

  • Dormont police responded to a report of a man punching a car in a parking lot in the 3200 block of West Liberty Avenue at 12:15 a.m. [Some Dude], 26, of Dormont, was charged with disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

March 20

  • Police responded to a report than an unknown man was in the basement of an apartment building in the 1100 block of Illinois Avenue at 2 a.m. When police arrived, the man, identified as 19-year-old [Crazy Dude] of Beechview, appeared to be sleeping on the basement floor. According to the police report, [Dude] began jumping around and screaming, and charged toward the police officers when they woke him up. Police tased [Dude] and took him to the Dormont police station. [Dude] was arraigned on charges of public drunkenness, loitering and prowling, unlawful entry, and various crimes code violations.

March 21

  • Police were called to the CoGos at 1530 Potomac Ave. for a report of an intoxicated man trying to shoplift items from the store. Police found the man in the parking lot with no stolen items in his possession. [Some Dude], 25, of Mount Oliver was charged with public drunkenness.

March 22

  • While on patrol at 5:30 p.m., police saw a man passed out on a bench on Potomac Avenue. According to the police report, the man appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug. Police found syringe in his pocket, suspected heroin residue and a silver spoon. [Some Dude], 25, of Churchill, was taken to the Dormont police station and lodged overnight. He was charged with narcotics possession.

March 24

  • Police responded to a report of a fight between two men taking place in the street in the 1600 block of Hillsdale Avenue at 9:42 a.m. [Some Dude], 44, of Dormont, was charged with disorderly conduct.
  • Three people face charges after running from their car during a traffic stop at 12:10 p.m. Police stopped a car in the 2900 block of Glenmore Avenue for going the wrong way on a one-way street. All three people in the car ran from the vehicle. Dormont police caught one man in a foot chase off of West Liberty Avenue. Baldwin Township police arrested the other two at the intersection of Castlegate and Woodburn avenues. [Some Dude], 20, of Beechview, and two juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct, traffic offenses and various crimes code violations.

March 25

  • Police responded to a report of two people fighting in Beggs Synder Park near Illinois Avenue at 4:57 p.m. [Some Dude] and a juvenile, both of Dormont, were charged with disorderly conduct.

March 26

  • Police responded to a report of an intoxicated woman on the LRT platform on Potomac Avenue at 7:50 p.m. [Some Chick], 30, of Mt. Lebanon, was charged with public drunkenness.

March 28

  • Allegheny County Adult Probation and DEA officials notified Dormont police of an arrest warrant for a Dormont man for violating probation terms. Police responded to an apartment in the 2800 block of West Liberty Avenue at 4 p.m., where [Some Dude], 32, of Dormont was stopped outside of the building and taken back inside. According to the police report, 393 stamp bags of suspected heroin were found on [Dude] and 50 more stamp bags of suspected heroin were found in the apartment, along with 14 bags of marijuana and several capsules of suspected ecstasy. A two-month-old child was in a crib in the apartment. [Dude] and [Some Other Dude], 34, of Brookline, were arraigned on charges of narcotics possession, and various drug and drug equipment violations. CYS was contacted, and the child was returned to its mother’s care.

Follow Dormont-Brookline Patch on Facebook and Twitter. For more news, sign up for our email Newsletter.

Related Topics: CoGos, Dormont Police, Drug Arrests, Police Blotter, Public Drunkenness, and dormont blotter

Anyone else notice a common theme?  Besides being wildly amusing (like the guy dumb enough to charge police that needed tazed), there seems to be a lot of public drunkenness around here.  Ha ha.  I’m not judging or hating, just saying that it’s odd that so many incidents where police needed called involved either public drunkenness or narcotics possession.

If you & your friends are in Dormont getting drunk… maybe you should look out for each other.  Don’t let your friends break into apartment buildings to sleep it off in the basement, punch cars, get into drunken fights, try to shoplift, charge at officers of the law, or hang out on the T platform creeping out other potential passengers.  Apparently you shouldn’t get rocked & overstay your welcome either.

I’m amazed that the police have never been to our neighbors’ house to to drunken debauchery that happens there during every Steelers game & most Pens games.  Perhaps they’re cool enough to look out for each other, and we’re cool enough to not call the cops because of their drunken loudness.

Also, perhaps you shouldn’t do (or sell) ecstasy, heroin, or weed… especially with a baby in your apartment.

Impugnment & Embarrassment


Dormont Park Playground

Should this be the new municipal building?

I must admit, I don’t generally get all fired up about local politics… and I’m not involved much, so I guess I really have no big voice in complaining until I get off of my ass and vote next local election.  From what I read in the papers, the Patch, & the quarterly newsletter it’s all some sort of goofy circus in Dormont anyway.  (Does that quarterly thing live online anywhere?)  If you’ve read a paper (in print or online), I’m sure you’ve seen the chaos in the little borough on the hill just outside Pittsburgh proper.

It’s a very odd pissing contest between the mayor, the borough manager, the city employees, the police, and the counsel.  I’d love to know where/why/how it all started.  A comment on a recent article from the Dormont-Brookline Patch sparked local editor Erin Faulk to reply with some links to try & help me sort things out.

I’m going to try & ignore all of the comments, as they appear to be mostly inflammatory statements.  (The dates are article dates, not event dates.)  Let’s see if we can all follow along…

  • March 7th, 2011 – Dormont Counsel demotes the police chief Phil Ross to Sergeant without explanation.  Ross was on “sick leave” at the time.  Dormont mayor Thomas Lloyd publicly disagrees with the decision.  This is an alarming quote form the article: “Residents and business owners asked for an explanation, but got none.”  Perhaps some more insight is gained here:  “Fire Captain Bryan Taylor followed up, saying that since council did away with minimum shift requirements, two officers are tied up on each call.”  So, the counsel tightened the budget for the police?  Maybe this caused some tension.  How long had Ross been on sick leave at the time?
  • March 8th, 2011 – A “no-confidence letter” signed by 29 (if my math is right?) city employees is presented to counsel that calls for the resignation of Dormont Borough manager Gino Rizza.  This seems to be a theme already: “Several residents questioned Rizza’s experience during the public comment section, but got no answers.”
  • April 27th, 2011 – I wish I could, but really can’t say it any better than this:

    “If this were a case about whether or not Phil Ross is a nice guy or a good man or someone people like, we wouldn’t be here … But being chief of police is a big job,” he said.

    Within Ross’ first year as chief, he said, council began noticing problems.

    Testimony by Rizza, Assistant Manager Ian McMeans and council President Kim Lusardi painted a picture of man who didn’t have control of his department.

    Rizza testified that during a meeting with him and Lusardi in November 2010, Ross said he didn’t want to be chief, but others in the department wanted him to be.

    Ross, Rizza said, “felt they threw him under the bus” and wouldn’t listen to him.

    Lusardi testified Ross had told her his men wouldn’t listen to him and that he was unhappy.

    According to testimony:

    • Ross couldn’t control overtime, which exceeded the 2010 budget of $93,000 by about $50,000. This was in part because Ross would not use his ability to deny officers from taking comp time in some cases. At the time, the borough had a minimum shift requirement of a sergeant on all shifts and at least one officer.
    • Ross did not notify Rizza of an attempted child luring in October. Instead, Rizza said he learned several hours later from the school superintendent. The delay, he said, prevented prompt notification to borough residents using the borough’s reverse 911 system.
    • Rizza learned from another officer in November that police cars weren’t being well-maintained and that cameras in two of the cars hadn’t been working for about a year.
    • Officers were also not walking beats as required by borough code. In 2009, officers walked 126 foot patrols, and 83 in 2010 and one in the early part of 2011.

    Lautner also suggested the police may have had reasons for not coming forth with information about the attempted child luring. Rizza and McMeans said public safety should take precedence.

    Lautner also said vehicle maintenance wasn’t in Ross’ job description. And, he suggested, police were walking more beats than those that were logged.

    In his cross-examination, Lautner asked Rizza why he sought to demote Ross by holding a Loudermill hearing—essentially a due process hearing at which a public employee facing discipline can present his or her side—on Feb. 18, just six days after council had given Ross 60 days to comply with its latest directives.

    Rizza said that was because Ross’ reactions during the hearing indicated he had no intentions to following council’s instruction, saying “Bull—-. Council is not my boss.”

    At the end of the hearing, Rizza said, Ross complained of shortness of breath. He left the meeting and was taken by ambulance to the hospital and went out on sick leave until about early April.

    Gabriel characterized that as a “panic attack,” to audience groans. Lautner objected and was sustained.

    Heh, “under the bus” thing.

  • May 3rd, 2011 – Councilwoman Joan Hodson questions the intentions of Gino Rizza’s GPS unit monitoring, citing excessive time logged on to the system.
  • June 9th, 2011 – Dormont Borough Manager (apparently unaffected by letter from nearly all employees calling for his resignation in March) is cited for trespassing at the police station.  I believe that all borough offices are in the municipal building.  It seems that Rizza used a non-civilian entrance to the police station to go in & complain about a parking ticket.  Surprise!  Then Sgt. Phil Ross made the citation, apparently after several warnings to Mr. Rizza & his sidekick assistant manager, Ian McMeans, to not use that entrance.  Apparently Rizzo parked in a space set aside for LifeSpan (a company that serves senior citizens) to earn the ticket.  It is noted that Ross did not write the ticket or citation.  Really, at this point… everyone involved is starting to look like an ass.  Rizzo paid the $15 ticket and made this statement: “This unfortunate incident is an example of what the Borough Council and Administration have been trying to change: a Police Department that sees itself as unanswerable to the elected Borough Council and officers who are willing to go so far as to file inappropriate criminal charges to keep it that way.
  • June 10th, 2011 – Rizza calls the trespass charge “Utterly Ridiculous”.  Of course.  I can’t make this stuff any clearer/funnier:

    Ross said the area Rizza walked through contains sensitive police documents and file cabinets and also a juvenile holding cell.

    Ross denied that the citation and ticket were in retaliation for his demotion, which he is appealing.

    Sgt. Jim Burke, who issued the trespassing citation to Rizza, was placed on paid administrative leave for an unspecified amount of time Thursday afternoon by Assistant Borough Manager Ian McMeans, Ross said Friday.

    However, Mayor Tom Lloyd said he reinstated him.

    Asked if he had that power, Lloyd said, “I think I have more power to reinstate than the assistant manager had to suspend him.”

    Placing Burke on administrative leave was authorized by council.

    Ross said Burke was on his regular day off Friday.

    Really?

  • June 14th, 2011 – Sgt. Ross suspended.  Of course.  Still amidst his appeals of demotion from Police Chief, apparently.  The reason?  “…for directing officers to disable GPS units installed in patrol cars earlier this year.”  The article later refers to this as “The GPS incident”.  (Great name for a band.)  Ross ordered the disconnection of the units under the direction of Mayor Lloyd.  Can we see a Dormont flow-chart of the seats of power here?  Who’s in charge of who?  Apparently no one knows.  Again, I quote directly as this is unintentional comedic gold:

    Lloyd and others have suggested the GPS units were installed in the five cars so Rizza could spy on police.

    “They were installed for safety purposes and they were not used that way,” Lloyd said Tuesday. “The way I look at it is, (management has) abused the use of them.”

    Rizza has denied using the units to spy on police.

    Lloyd said as mayoy he is in charge of the police department and that the order to disconnect the units is within his powers.

    Rizza and council maintain that the police ultimately answer to them because they set policy. The struggle over who has authority over the police department has been ongoing.

    “They’re certainly not in charge of a lot of things they think they are,” Lloyd said of council and management.

    “I just believe they’ve gotten some bad advice,” Lloyd said. “I don’t know how it’s ever going to get resolved. But it’s got to because we’ve had an excellent department for years and years and years. And they’ve done everything they can to destroy (police) morale.”

    But Councilman Drew Lehman said Lloyd has been giving bad guidance and said ordering the GPS units to be disabled wasn’t the mayor’s call to make.

    These are grown-ass adults.  This is not a prime-time drama plot line.  The last line of the article makes me giggle; “Rizza contends he is entitled to use the door.”

  • July 6th, 2001 – Sgt. Burke (the guy who issued the citation to Rizza) is demoted to patrolman.  Counsel approves.  Lloyd annoyed.
  • July 6th, 2001 – Sgt. Ross (former police chief) also demoted to patrolman.  For real.  “The decision followed June hearings regarding the job performance of Ross, who has been on paid suspension since last month for previously telling officers to disconnect GPS units installed in patrol cars, according to previous reports. Ross said he gave the order at the direction of Mayor Tom Lloyd, who suggested the navigation devices were being used by borough Manager Gino Rizza to spy on police.”
  • July 6th, 2011 – Hey, where’d all our money go?  Apparently all of these demotions, hearings, legal proceedings, suspensions, etc. had fees, and in July Dormont was already $6000 over budget.  A quote from Mayor Lloyd: “All problems of this borough will go away the day council has enough nerve to terminate the borough manager.”  Rizza countered: “Council has the ultimate authority in the borough. Council does the hiring and firing.”  In other words, “nanny-nanny boo boo.”
  • June 21st, 2011 – Richard Dwyer hired as acting interim police chief, while he helps look for a new one.  Article tries to recap the insanity:

    Disagreements over who has ultimate control over the police department have festered for some time, with both Lloyd and Rizza—through council—claiming authority.

    Tensions escalated after Rizza was ticketed last month for parking in a spot at the borough building lot designated for another tenant.

    Officer James Burke issued the ticket. After getting the ticket, Rizza entered the police department through a door inside the building for which he has an electronic key pass, Burke cited him for defiant trespass.

    Ross contended Rizza wasn’t allowed to enter that way, saying sensitive materials were in the area and a juvenile holding cell was visible. Rizza should have waited for an officer to meet him at the door and escort him, according to Ross.

    Burke was suspended, then demoted to patrolman instead of being fired over the incident. The trespassing charge has also been dropped.

    Rizza said he needed to get to a meeting and all other spots were taken, and that he only intended to park there until another spot opened up. He has paid the parking ticket.

    A related statement signed Thursday by a police union representative and a police union attorney acknowledged Rizza is permitted to enter the station, the trespassing charge was inappropriate, and that council has the “ultimate authority to hire and discipline its police officers, subject only to the collective bargaining agreement and the Pennsylvania Borough Code.”

    The statement also acknowledged the mayor cannot direct police officers to disconnect or damage the GPS units or other equipment the borough owns.

    Dwyer will not have arrest powers, but can carry a gun.

    Heh.  Nice line there at the end.  It would look great on a movie poster.

  • July 27th, 2011 – Now the civil service commission is involved?  Wait, what the hell is the civil service commission?  At any rate, this 3-person commission decides to overturn the demotion of Phil Ross, but I’m unsure if that makes him a sergeant or the police chief.
  • July 28th, 2011 – Dormont borough (of course) appeals the commission’s ruling.  You knew it was coming, right?  The meat of this article:  “The appeal is the latest round in an ongoing battle over who has ultimate authority over the police department. Council claims it does, but Ross and Mayor Tom Lloyd say the mayor is in charge.”  Contains another quote from Ross pre-dating my fancy timeline: “But on Feb. 11, Ross told Rizza and Ian McMeans, the assistant borough manager, that ‘council is not my boss’,’ I don’t care who hired me, council can’t tell me what to do’ and ‘council can’t terminate me,’ according to the appeal.”
  • August 2nd, 2011 – The borough solicitor (whatever that is?) says Mayor Lloyd has no power to dismiss tickets.  (I see an article form January about it.)  The mayor says it’s tradition.  I don’t know if it has anything to do with the cops or the GPS units, but it certainly has to do with the chain on authority in Dormont…

    Lloyd provides no accounting to council of dismissals and and his reasons.

    “Nobody but except a few people here have even brought it up as a question,” he said of council members who’ve questioned the practice. “I’ve been doing it 18 years and most people have understood that process.”

    The issue has come up several times this year. In February, council said it was looking into the matter, and recently, acting Chief Richard Dwyer told officers that certain tickets should be issued as state violations, not borough violations.

    Lloyd defended his practice during Monday’s meeting when Manager Gino Rizza asked him how many tickets he thought he dismissed. More than 300, Rizza said.

    Lloyd pressed on with an example of tickets issued during street sweeping on July 11. During holidays, street sweeping is postponed. Lloyd said they shouldn’t have been written.

    “Now, if you come in here and say, ‘Look, I wasn’t around, I wasn’t aware of it.’ What would you do?” he said. “I’m not asking you to give me an answer, I’m saying, ‘What would you do?’”

    “We should be the protector of the residents,” he said after the meeting. “We should also be showing compassion to the residents.”

    Crazy.

  • August 4th, 2011 – Color me confused.  Did the commission’s ruling not stand?  Was it all for show?  These people call for a vote to overturn a ruling in favor of Ross.
  • August 23rd, 2011 – I’m sorry, you just have to read this one: “Mayor Tom Lloyd told Richard Dwyer on Monday that he was suspended for seven days without pay beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday over the incident, though council quickly reinstated him as of 8:30 a.m.” should get you started.
  • August 30th, 2011 – Residents are wondering what exactly the new police chief is doing… and mentions that the Mayor suspended Dwyer for 7 days… on no authority?  Wait, what was the the new guy suspended for?
  • November 1st, 2011 – Phil Ross is suing the already over-budget Dormont.  For obvious reasons, I guess.
  • November 16th, 2011(Acting) Chief Dwyer reflects on his accomplishments.  This poor bastard just seems like he was trying to do his job despite the pee flying in at all angles.

    Despite the numerous issues swirling in the borough, Dwyer has tried to stay focused on his mission of improving the police department.

    “He has exceeded all of the goals we set when he was originally hired, and he helped to implement and correct many things we were told were lacking in our police department,” council Vice President Laurie Malka wrote in an email to Patch on Tuesday.

    Dwyer detailed some of those changes he feels have benefitted the borough.

    Walking the beat

    In an effort to make officers more responsive to community needs, Dwyer has instituted walking patrols.

    “I’ve got them out of the cars, walking in the business district,” he said. “The average officer probably walks two times on each shift. It gives you an increased feeling of security when police are visible in the community.”

    In addition, the officers check on bars at closing time and, when pharmacies in Castle Shannon and Mt. Lebanon were hit by robberies, Dwyer asked them to talk to Dormont pharmacy managers to let them know there would be additional patrols.

    Police cars

    Dwyer said to make Dormont’s patrol cars more visible to the community, he changed the color on three of the five vehicles to a classic black-and-white paint job. He also has put a new police car in next year’s budget as two of the cars are “in bad shape.”

    Cutting overtime

    Dwyer said, upon his arrival, police overtime pay was “out of control.”

    In an effort to cut those costs, which have resulted in some officers having annual incomes of more than $100,000, Dwyer implemented a 12-hour schedule. He has the officers split into three-man platoons working the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.

    Within a 14-day period, the 12 officers will work seven days and have off seven days and the shift length results in less overtime pay. The average officer has 182.5 pass days and, with sick and vacation time added in, that adds up to about 208 days a year.

    “Every second weekend, you have a three-day weekend,” Dwyer explained. “What this tends to do is cause less sick time abuse.”

    He had told police that if the new scheduling didn’t work out, they could switch back. Since the new schedule has been in effect, a few officers who were turned down for overtime have filed grievances, Dwyer said.

    But when he sent an email to officers last week asking if they want to return to the old schedule, half replied that they want to keep the 12-hour schedule, he said.

    ID cards

    Officers carried their weapons certification cards with them, but Dwyer felt that police should have a Dormont Police Department identification card.

    “All public employees should have ID cards,” Dwyer said, including school and hospital staffs and all borough employees.

    Though the cost is generally about $35 a card, Dwyer was able to have cards made at the county police academy at no cost to the borough.

    Tickets

    Council voted on Monday to overturn Lloyd’s veto of the new parking ticket ordinance. Dwyer said he discovered that citations for state violations were being written up as borough tickets so the borough obtained the revenue. He accused Lloyd of supporting the practice.

    Equipment

    Early on, Dwyer was shocked to open the trunk of a police car and find it empty, devoid of safety equipment he said should be standard in all police vehicles—flares, fire extinguishers, gas masks, helmets and safety vests.

    “I’m not faulting previous people, but that’s what you’re supposed to have,” Dwyer said. “You’ve got to be prepared.”

    Since then, the department received a federal grant to purchase all new bulletproof vests for each officer.

    “Nobody was worried where the safety equipment was in the police car,” Dwyer said. “But they were worried about badges?”

    The future

    While no one knows the outcomes of Ross’ suit against council or the final ruling on his civil service case in Common Pleas Court, Dwyer has his future planned.

    Because his wife still works, he’ll go from being interim chief to the “house guy.” But he plans to spend more time fishing, meeting up with friends and spending time with his grandchildren, who range in age from 2 to 21.

    And while he might have taken the heat in Dormont, it won’t deter him from vacationing in tropical Jamaica next year.

    For real.  So he expects Chief Ross to be reinstated?

  • December 12th, 2011 – James Burke is now also suing the borough.  Clearly, this will drag on to the end of time.

I’m not picking any sides…  I just would really like to know the whole story.  I’m sure most residents would.  The whole ordeal seems like a waste of time & resources for everyone involved, the losers ultimately being Dormont residents & business owners.  I also find it odd that a police blotter isn’t published regularly with easy access & complete information for all citizens.

Sadly, to me, all involved look like fools at this point.  It appears that no one involved has taken the high road, and any further defense of their position will just sound more ridiculous.  I’m amazed that there is no clear-cut chain of command outlined anywhere for the local government.

I don’t like parking tickets.  (On-street parking is such a royal pain.)

I do like the strong visible police presence in the neighborhood.  It makes me feel safe, & like there will be a very quick response should I ever need them.

I don’t care if the cars have GPS units.  Isn’t Dormont less than square mile?  What reason other than monitoring the cars would they have for installation?

I do care that Dormont is wasting money on these counsel meetings, demotions, appeals, and comparing pee-pee sizes.  I’m sure the money could be better used elsewhere.  (Almost anywhere else – like defining — in writing — a clear Borough chain of command.)

Am I missing anything?  Is this the whole ordeal?

Can someone make an info-graphic or Lifetime movie about this, please?