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Carbondale News - Carbondale, PA
  • Council approves police retirement plan to reduce force

  • City Council approved a police retirement incentive ordinance during a meeting on Tuesday night, Feb. 19, clearing the way for the city to reduce its full-time police force.
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  • City Council approved a police retirement incentive ordinance during a meeting on Tuesday night, Feb. 19, clearing the way for the city to reduce its full-time police force.
    The council members voted unanimously in favor of the one-time incentive, which remained open through last Tuesday, Feb. 19, when the window closed. The incentive was offered to all retirement-eligible officers, those with at least 20 years of service on the force.
    With that, three highly-distinguished, long-serving officers are now set to retire from the department. Consequently, the city will be employing nine full-time officers as opposed to 12.
    Capt. Joseph Pilcavage, Sgt. Joseph Laguzzi, and Det. Sgt. Jesse Van Deusen submitted their notices as part of the plan.
    "They're excellent officers, all three of them," offered Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco, "so this is certainly going to be a big loss to the city."
    Mayor Justin Taylor agreed.
    "The sad part of it is that we're losing three great guys, a captain and two ranking sergeants who have served the city well over a very long period of time," he noted.
    During the public comment portion of the meeting, city resident Alfred Esposito asked about the officers' salaries and retirement packages. Taylor refused to comment, calling it a personnel issue. However, he did say that the base salary for a full-time officer is $54,000.
    "So every one of the full-timers makes more than $50,000," he noted.
    Taylor told the NEWS that the retirement incentive ordinance provides the legal basis for a new contract which is still being negotiated with the police union. He said the incentive provides an additional 15 percent on top of the base monthly pension that every officer receives, which is 50 percent of his or her monthly salary.
    For the three retirees, that will bring their total pension amount to 65 percent of their respective monthly salaries. Taylor stated that the additional 15 percent will come from the general fund under this incentive program.
    As for the three retiring officers, Sgt. Laguzzi has already been hired as the new Police Chief in Clarks Summit, while Sgt. Van Deusen works as the Chief Deputy Coroner for Lackawanna County. Capt. Pilcavage is an expert in firearms, and for many years has served as firearms instructor for the department.
    "Sergeant Laguzzi's appointment as the Clarks Summit Police Chief speaks to the high quality of his job performance here in Carbondale, Sergeant Van Deusen's position with the county speaks to his criminal investigation abilities, and Captain Pilcavage has extensive knowledge and experience in firearms instruction and weapons maintenance which he will still be sharing with the department by continuing to do some work for the city," Taylor stated in commending the three officers.
    Although contract negotiations between the city and police union has been stalled for months, that may be about to change. Both Taylor and Sgt. Laguzzi, who serves as police union steward, told the NEWS that they hope talks can resume and arbitration can be avoided now that this agreement has been reached.

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