OSCEOLA MILLS – A local police chief has cited a “hostile and unethical work environment” as reason for his resignation.
Decatur Township Police Chief Timothy O’ Leary has submitted his letter of resignation to the Decatur Township Supervisors and copies of the letter to several media outlets. His resignation will be effective Feb. 18.
In the letter, dated Jan. 31, 2019, O’Leary says he is “effectively resigning from (his) position as police chief for the Decatur Township Police Department due to the hostile and unethical work environment (he) has repeatedly reported to the Decatur Township Board of Supervisors and the Decatur Township Solicitor.”
“My decision to resign from this position stands both professional and personal and is based on the harassing and hostile work environment created solely by Supervisor Andrew Rebar Jr.,” the letter says.
O’Leary’s letter said that the conflict between himself and Rebar has been ongoing and “has yet to be resolved.” The letter alleges that while O’Leary was serving as police chief, he has “witnessed acts committed by Supervisor Rebar that could only be considered unethical, immoral and criminal in nature.”
The letter alleges that the actions of Supervisor Rebar were reported to the remaining Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor in turn and “was only met with increased hostility, retaliation, threats and attempts of intimidation by Supervisor Andrew Rebar.”
The letter alleges that he remaining Board of Supervisors at that time (excluding Supervisor Douglas McClellan) “continued to turn a blind eye to the situation on hand while failing to make any attempt to intervene.”
O’Leary’s letter commends McClellan and says that McClellan has “on several occasions attempted to rebuild the Decatur Township Police Department only to be met with negative results.”
The letter alleges that “Supervisor McClellan’s abilities are governed by the majority of the vote, which is easily swayed by Supervisor Rebar’s unethical tactics of intimidation and badgering.”
O’Leary’s letter alleges that there have been concerns regarding Supervisor Richard Yarger’s ability to make decisions with good sound judgment due to a “possible diminished mental capacity.”
The letter alleges “Supervisor Rebar continues to take advantage of the easily swayed vote to his favor, which displays true immoral and unethical conduct on his behalf,” and warns that residents of Decatur Township should be concerned that their board of supervisors’ ability to make sound decisions on behalf of the citizens.
The letter alleges Rebar’s conduct “could only be considered unethical and illegal.” O’Leary’s letter states Rebar’s action “includes but are not limited to alleged theft, employee intimidation, coercion, Defamation of Character, Official Oppression, Obstruction of Administration of Law, retaliation and the creation of a hostile work environment.”
O’Leary’s letter also alleges that Rebar may have violated one or more state and federal laws enacted to protect police officers against harassment, intimidation retaliation, threats and false statements.
“By failing to properly investigate these accusations the remaining Decatur Township Board of Supervisors and Township Solicitor can and will be held accountable for failing to intervene in turn opening up Decatur Township for liability,” the letter says.
O’Leary’s letter says that the situation has continued for several years and has become “ultimately intolerable.” The letter alleges that Rebar has made “false accusations and statements towards myself and other officers of The Decatur Township Police Department in a public forum and to others including elected officials only for the intent to belittle harass and defame the characters of the police officers that strived to serve this community.”
“As a duly sworn police officer, I can no longer morally or ethically work under these conditions. It shall be known that I have retained legal advice from an attorney experienced in Labor Law issues such as this,” O’Leary said in his letter.
“Without hesitation I was advised to pursue legal action towards Decatur Township. In doing so, I understand that it will be the Decatur Township tax payers that would be ultimately punished for the ignorance and incompetence of the elected officials that serve Decatur Township.”
O’Leary’s letter said that he enjoyed serving the community as chief of police and that he will continue his career in law enforcement as a full-time officer with the Bigler Township Regional Police Department.
He also expressed his gratitude to McClellan, Secretary Pamela Peters and road crew employees Steve Crain and John Smith.
When called for a response, McClellan said via e-mail that he had only been told Wednesday morning about O’Leary’s resignation.
McClellan said he wanted to consult with the other members of the board and the township solicitor before issuing an official response.
Calls to Rebar and Solicitor Winifred Jones Wenger were not returned.