Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Article excerpt


Fired Westmoreland public defender sues for job back

Fired in March after 41 years as Westmoreland County's chief public defender, Dante Bertani sued the county Thursday claiming he was dismissed because he's a prominent Democrat.

Mr. Bertani, of North Huntington, fired at age 80, wants his job back, plus compensation for humiliation and lost wages as well as punitive damages from the county, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Mr. Bertani served as chair of the Westmoreland County Democratic Committee. After Republicans Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney became the majority commissioners in January, they told Mr. Bertani to retire, according to the complaint.

Mr. Bertani refused. So the majority commissioners fired him and replaced him with Wayne McGrew, a Republican who had made several past bids for county office, the complaint said.

The firing violated Mr. Bertani's rights of free association and equal protection, according to the complaint, which named as defendants the county, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Courtney.


Panel to advocate for military bases in Pa.

Pennsylvania is joining the move by states to defend their military installations from the possibility of Defense Department cutbacks after Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed an order setting up a commission to advocate for the state's bases.

Mr. Corbett appointed Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley to lead it.

The move comes after the Air Force began seeking to shut down the 911th Airlift Wing in suburban Pittsburgh and Congress passed legislation last year that requires nearly $500 billion in defense cuts over 10 years beginning on Jan. 2, although some lawmakers are now looking for ways to avoid that.

"I think Pennsylvania needs to be taking a look at the issues themselves and we need to be well represented," Mr. Corbett said at a news conference at the 28th Division Infantry headquarters in Harrisburg.

Last year, several state lawmakers formed a "military installations caucus" to protect what they call 164,000 defense- related jobs in the state. …

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