AMBRIDGE (KDKA) — Ambridge Borough Council has suspended its police chief without pay or benefits following charges last week of theft and harassment.
James Mann, 61, has been the police chief in Ambridge for five years, but he was placed on leave back in April following complaints from several officers.
Now, he’s off the job.
“Those allegations are such that you should be suspended without pay and benefits. Up to this point, he was suspended with pay and benefits,” said Ambridge Solicitor Richard Start.
One week ago, Mann was charged with insurance fraud and theft by deception.
He went on a year’s disability pay for back surgery, but at the same time, investigators said he’s accused of collecting another $3,000, working on the Attorney General’s Drug Task Force. He’s also accused of adjusting his timesheets so he could get more vacation and sick pay.
Mann is also charged with threatening and harassing 10 officers who cooperated in the investigation.
Gerald “Duke” McCoy is a long-time Ambridge resident and borough councilman. He says he voted for the suspension.
“You’re not going to have a perfect society all the time. There’s going to be problems from time to time. You never expect these things to happen, but they do,” said McCoy.
Whether Mann gets his job back depends on what happens in court.
“If he’s found guilty of anything, then I don’t see that happening. If he’s acquitted on everything, he may be entitled to reinstatement with back pay,” said Start.
Mark Romutis has been appointed acting police chief.
Mann has a preliminary hearing on Sept. 5.