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Hearing on dismissed Rush Chief

Published January 26. 2010 05:00PM

A hearing on Rush Township supervisors' dismissal of former Police Chief Robert J. Romanick was scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the municipal building.

There was some confusion on Tuesday morning as to whether the hearing was open to the public.

"It's his choice, and he never asked us to have it open," said supervisor Chairman Steve Simchak.

Romanick, however, said the hearing is open. "Under police tenure, its my choice and I've been telling them all along it's a public hearing. In my eyes, it's a public hearing," he said.

Simchak said an immediate ruling by the hearing judge was not expected. Supervisors would have to make any decisions concerning the case in public.

Supervisors on Jan. 5, 2009, dismissed Romanick from his position four years after he was named chief. But Romanick says he was never told why. On Feb. 12, 2009, he sued in Schuylkill County to force the township to hold the hearing to disclose the reasons for his dismissal.

Judge John E. Domalakes scheduled arguments for Nov. 12, but supervisors at the last minute agreed to hold the hearing.

On Dec. 15, supervisors in a split vote hired two Luzerne County attorneys at $125 an hour each to handle the hearing. Former Supervisor William Sanchez Jr., opposed the hiring. Simchak and Supervisor Shawn Gilbert voted to hire the lawyers - James Scallion as a hearing officer and George Hludzik as prosecuting attorney. Both have their practices in Drums.

Romanick is currently working as a patrolman in Mahanoy City.

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