By Steve Pope | December 5, 2018
Just days before the McCandless Town Council is set to review the employment status of suspended police chief David R. DiSanti Sr., the police union delivered a two-page letter to town officials saying they no longer want him as chief.
In the Dec. 4 letter from the McCandless Police Officers Association, all but two of the current 26 police officers say they do not want DiSanti to return as chief. One officer voted in favor of the suspended chief and one abstained. Two others did not vote because they have not completed their initial 12-month probation period.
On Oct. 29. town officials posted a notice that two members of the department were on paid administrative leave while a “personnel matter” was being investigated.
While officials have refused to name the officers, it has been learned that DiSanti and Lt. Jeffrey Basl are the officers on suspension.
The letter stated “a close friend” of DiSanti said, “the issue at hand has been settled, and that Chief DiSanti’s return to the department is imminent.”
Saying the integrity of the department is at stake, the letter states it is “imperative” that officials know how the vast majority of the officers feel about the chief’s return and that the “community deserves no less than a true accounting of Chief David DiSanti’s tenure and leadership of this department.”
The letter also said the association members stand “in full support of our fellow officer in relation to this current issue.”
The letter raised concerns about former McCandless police chief Ralph LeDonne, who is currently on town council. While he is not specifically named in the document, an investigation by Grant Street News revealed he is the person referred to in the letter.
According to the letter, LeDonne was at a meeting Tuesday night of police officers in the North Hills area and encouraged officers to support DiSanti, indicating, according to the letter, that LeDonne was in possession of confidential information that he was not supposed to have.
In addition, the letter said LeDonne urged those in attendance to contact other members who were not present, including their wives, in an effort to garner support for DiSanti.
DiSanti, who was formerly police chief in Oakmont, was hired in August 2016 to replace retiring chief Gary Anderson.
Council members are planning to meet Monday to discuss the investigation, and again on Dec. 10 ahead of council’s regular 7:30 p.m. public meeting.
LeDonne, DiSanti and Basl could not be reached for comment.
Steve Pope can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org