GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Westmoreland County’s three commissioners sent a letter on Wednesday to state lawmakers, urging them to “investigate and address serious complaints” against Sheriff Jonathan Held.
They said that “asking the state to begin the impeachment process was neither political or personal.”
The letter stated that they thought the complaints and charges, if established, could constitute legal grounds for discipline of the sheriff, including removal from office.
Sheriff Held was charged by the State Attorney General’s Office with using some of his staffers to work on his re-election campaign while they were supposed to working on the county payroll.
Additionally, he’s facing several lawsuits, alleging staff retaliation and discrimination.
Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas told reporters, “This is a significant development, it is not taken lightly. Our hands are tied when it comes to the sheriff’s office.”
The sheriff’s attorney, Ryan Tutera, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti on Wednesday night that he believes the multiple lawsuits were filed by disgruntled employees in the Sheriff’s Department, and the commissioners are vilifying the sheriff before he’s even had a fair trial.
“I think [the letter] is for show. I think the public sees it for what it is. I think it clearly shows that for no other reason to poison the well, if your will, for Mr. Held. The sheriff is entitled to a fair trial,” Tutera said.
Tutera reiterated that Held has no intention of resigning.