A city police officer, who has been suspended for more than four years and has been drawing a corporal's bi-weekly salary of $32.50 per hour since August, was terminated Wednesday night by City Council.
Dustin J. Kreitz, 43, who since early August has been paid every two weeks, the equivalent of 80 hours work, according to records in the human resource department, was discharged following an executive session and vote by five members of council.
Kreitz was suspended in mid-2007 amid an investigation by the state attorney general's office. He and his attorney were not present.
SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Dustin Kreitz walks toward the Lycoming County Courthouse in October 2011. Kreitz was fired by City Council on Wednesday.
City officials refused to release details about the meeting.
All that council and Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman would confirm is that Kreitz was discharged on a recommendation by the city Bureau of Police, based on violations of bureau policies and procedures.
"We can't talk about what we discussed," Council President Bill Hall said.
Councilmen Jonathan Williamson, Randall J. Allison, Don Noviello and N. Clifford "Skip" Smith joined the vow of silence.
Councilwoman Liz Miele was unavailable for the meeting due to work commitments and Bonnie Katz was not feeling well.
Foresman confirmed Kreitz will continue to receive a paycheck every other week until an arbitrator rules whether the termination is valid.
Kreitz' attorney, Anthony M. Caputo, a Harrisburg-based counselor who represents the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 29, the collective bargaining unit, said earlier this year Kreitz had expressed a desire to rejoin the police force.
Kreitz filed a grievance refuting the termination, confirmed city assistant solicitor J. David Smith and Foresman. The arbitration begins today and may continue Friday.
Kreitz pleaded guilty in January to a charge of failure to file the proper paperwork that he received a gift - a television set - that was the property of the former Lycoming County Drug Task Force.
The charge stemmed from his involvement on the drug task force, which now is under supervision by the state attorney general's office.
The superior officer on the task force at the time was city Lt. Thomas H. Ungard Jr., who participated in a fishing trip to Canada in 2006 using a vehicle seized as part of a drug investigation.
The trip resulted in an investigation by the state, and a grand jury was convened to determine if the task force under Ungard's leadership had misused funds or property.
After years, Kreitz eventually pleaded guilty to one offense.
The state attorney general's prosecutor agreed to dismiss other charges, including tampering with public records, criminal conspiracy to engage in tampering with public records, obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension, perjury and restricted activities involving conflict of interest and theft.
He had faced a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for the offense but was sentenced to a $350 fine and no jail time.
Kreitz could have asked that the meeting be open to the public and media, but he did not. Numerous attempts earlier this year to speak to Kreitz through contact with a family member were not successful.
Kreitz worked for city police since 1998, according to Foresman. As a corporal, he worked alongside Ungard on the task force that investigated drug crimes in the county.