Tracey LaPaglia, a Baldwin Borough police officer who was injured while working for the borough in 2010, is claiming discrimination by borough leaders in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, LaPaglia says that she was assigned secretarial duties after her injury—work that was never assigned to Baldwin's injured policemen.
LaPaglia says that this is just one way that she was treated differently than injured male officers, the Tribune-Review reports.
Baldwin Borough Manager John Barrett declined to comment on Wednesday night, saying that he needed to talk with borough solicitor Stanley B. Lederman before making any kind of a statement.
The Baldwin-Whitehall Patch has requested a statement from Lederman and is waiting for a response.
LaPaglia's work status has been mentioned during some Baldwin Council meetings regarding the borough's 2013 budget.
Baldwin police Chief Michael Scott has been asking the council to add a police officer to his staff for 2013. But council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk has shown some hesitation in doing so, saying that he was under the impression that the borough did not need any more staffing adjustments after the council approved increased police spending for 2012 by adding supervisory positions like sergeants and lieutenants.
But Scott said that those expenses do not increase his department's roster size.
"The supervisors are also functioning as patrol officers," Scott said at an Oct. 9 council meeting, arguing that the borough is currently shorthanded by deploying only three patrol officers (for Baldwin's four police zones) at any given time.
Countered Stelmasczyk, "You guys keep taking a bite (out of the borough budget) every time. I just feel like I was not told the truth last year when we made these administrative changes. I was assured that we did not need the people."
But Scott and Mayor Alexander R. Bennett Jr. denied claiming, in preparation for the 2012 budget, that the department did not need more staff.
Councilman Larry Brown said on Oct. 9 that the confusion may come from the absence of an officer on long-term leave—LaPaglia—whom Baldwin police thought would be rejoining the force for 2012. It appears now that LaPaglia will not return, causing a continued shortage in staffing.
Read through other Baldwin Borough police items here.
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