Borough: Andrekovich to receive $91,109

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Borough Police Officer Brian Andrekovich will receive $91,109.46 in a monetary settlement, according to information released Monday by Punxsutawney Borough Council.

Council voted 7-0 at a special meeting last Tuesday to award Androkovich money for lost wages, interest on lost wages, mileage and parking but did not disclose the amount at the meeting.

The Punxsutawney Spirit filed a Right to Know request for the information Wednesday, and the borough responded to the request Monday in an e-mail from Borough Manager Ben White.

White wrote, "The full amount of settlement that was discussed at the meeting was $78,540.52 in back pay (lost wages), $295 reimbursement for mileage and parking on account of the federal lawsuit, $1,636.72 reimbursement in health care costs prior to reinstatement. 

"In addition, the borough will pay $4,666 to the Pa. Bureau of Unemployment Compensation," he wrote.

White added there's also "a $5,971.22 reimbursement payment to Andrekovich for interest on his lost wages. 

A motion was made by Toby Santik, council member, to pay the agreed amounts to Andrekovich, who was recently reinstated as a detective to the department.

"I make the motion that the Borough of Punxsutawney pay Brian Andrekovich the agreed amounts for: Lost wages, interest on the lost
wages, mileage and parking on account of the federal lawsuit,” Santik said.

His motion also included "health care costs prior to the reinstatement of his (Andrekovich’s) health coverage and to pay Pa. Bureau of Unemployment Compensation."

The motion was seconded by Bill Spencer and approved 7-0 by the entire council.

After almost two-and-a-half years of investigations and legal action, Andrekovich, who was fired in November 2009, was approved to return to work Jan. 16 at the Jan. 9 council meeting 7-0.

Council fired Andrekovich Nov. 3, 2009, following the death of Stephen Obbish, 48, Aug. 15, 2009, in the back of a police cruiser after Andrekovich arrested him for public drunkenness at the Goodwill store in the Punxy Plaza.

In March 2010, the state Attorney General’s Office said it wouldn’t file charges against Andrekovich, and in July 2010, the borough’s Civil Service Commission issued a decision and order, exonerating Andrekovich of all charges and ordering his reinstatement with backpay.

Aug. 9, 2010, Punxsy Borough council opted to continue its appeal of the Civil Service Commission’s ruling, that awarded Andrekovich his job back.
But later, Judge John H. Foradora upheld the commission’s ruling.

In October 2011, Andrekovich filed a lawsuit against the borough in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania by attorney Susan E. Mahood of Pittsburgh.

The suit named now-former council members Susan Glessner, Donna Lellock and Roger Steele, current council members Chenoga, Mike Porada, Bob Reesman and William Spencer, as well as Police Chief Tom Fedigan as defendants.

In his suit, Andrekovich sought reinstatement and damages in excess of $75,000.

There was no word the suit’s status after council’s vote.