Police Chief Appointment Spurs Debate at DuBois City Council Meeting

DUBOIS – Mike DiLullo was appointed the City of DuBois’ police chief after a democratic debate ensued at Monday night’s city council meeting.Joe Korb congratulates Mike DiLullo to his appointment as Chief of Police

Manager John “Herm” Suplizio said that he was presenting council with DiLullo’s name after he was asked to submit his resume and a letter, which he did.  DiLullo had previously served as the acting police chief of the City of Dubois.  According to Suplizio, “his resume speaks for itself.”  Council member DianeBernardo asked Suplizio if they, meaning council, had a copy of the resume to which Suplizio said they did not but that he had a copy of it.

Council member Edward Walsh asked Suplizio what past practice was in hiring or appointing someone to such a position.  Suplizio said that the name of the person is given to the manager, however, since they have been without a manager it was previously given to council.

The appointment came after Bernardo questioned Suplizio’s appointment of DiLullo without an open interview and application process.  According to Bernardo, it was previously discussed that the council would appoint “key positions” on an open-interview and application process in order to be as transparent as possible.  Bernardo said, “We may very well have the best applicant in the room but I don’t know that without an open interview process we don’t know if we have the best.”

Bernardo went on to say that the open process is the best practice for everyone, including the taxpayers. 

“I think with municipal government we have to be as open, honest, and transparent as can be,” stated Bernardo.

Suplizio retorted that it is the job of the manager to appoint those positions, whether it is public works or the chief of police.

Bernardo said that it was nothing personal against DiLullo but that she has a right, as a council person, to express her opinion when it comes to key positions in the city.  She said that it was her personal opinion.

Jim Augenbaugh asked if the position of the police chief is one that requires approval of council.  Solicitor Toni Cherry looked in the matter and replied that, 53 PS Section 41516 speaks to the duties and powers of the city manager.  “Subparagraph A says the city manager shall, and I’m going to go to number three, appoint and have power to remove a deputy manager if one be authorized, all department heads, and all other officers, subordinates.” 

Cherry went on to say that the article stated he would have to report his action at the next city council meeting.  Cherry further explained that going back to the city’s code, council had wanted oversight in appointing positions but that the legislation of the commonwealth superseded that of the city.

“I think in light of that the city manager makes the appointment,” said Cherry.  She further stated that he is not required to make the appointment after conducting several interviews, as was the wish of Bernardo. 

Suplizio said that everyone has differences in opinion.  DiLullo’s name was brought up by Mayor Gary Gilbert and Suplizio and Bernardo could vote against the name being brought to council.  Bernardo said she’d been around long enough to understand that people can have a difference of opinion and she was expressing hers. 

Cherry said that Suplizio did not have to bring the matter to council but they should take it as a mark of respect.  Cherry reiterated that Suplizio only had to report the appointment and that he did not have to seek approval. 

Walsh put forth the motion to appoint DiLullo to the position of police chief which was seconded by Aughenbaugh. 

Bernardo voted against the appointment and then went on the congratulate DiLullo.  She said, “Congratulations, Mike.  That was just a debate in democracy.”

During public comments, Joe Korb congratulated DiLullo on his appointment. 

Suplizio also congratulated DiLullo to the appointment after serving as the acting chief for nine months.

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