Appointment Of Wright Township Solicitor Not Without Controversy

Wright Township’s reorganization meeting was not without drama on Jan. 2 as controversy arose over the board of supervisors’ next solicitor appointment. While each supervisor agreed that Attorney Jack Dean is a good choice and each voted in favor of his appointment, two supervisors made comments at the end of the meeting about their agitation with the way the appointment was handled.

Supervisor Louis Welebob Jr. spoke first, saying that, while he welcomes Dean to the board, he felt the firing of former Solicitor Michael Kostelansky was unprofessional. Welebob stated that, after the board’s last meeting on Dec. 11, Kostelansky was told by Supervisor Michael Marshall that he would likely not be reappointed in 2018. Kostelansky should have been given three to six months notification, rather than one, Welebob said, adding that the attorney deserved better after serving the township well.

Supervisor Donald Zampetti related that he knew nothing of Dean being appointed over Kostelansky until that night and, in his 24 years on the board, has never seen township business handled in this manner. He added that it’s fortunate that Dean is a good attorney who will also serve the township well.

Marshall, who was made board chairman that night, responded, “Thank you for your comments, even though I disagree with them.” In his earlier motion to appoint Dean as solicitor, the vote was unanimous. However, in the same motion to appoint Donald Karpowich as alternate solicitor, Welebob and Zampetti voted against it with Zampetti noting the alternate was not necessary. The motion did pass, however, with Marshall and Supervisors Collen Macko and Matthew Howton –a former supervisor newly elected to the board –in favor.

Marshall created a controversy with Zampetti and Kostelansky early last year when he requested that the state’s Attorney General investigate conduct between the two. Marshall stated then that it was improper for Zampetti to hire Kostelansky to represent his friend in a police matter in Rice Township. Both parties denied any wrongdoing and Zampetti said he was acting as a private citizen, not a supervisor.

Kostelansky stated then that it wasn’t a conflict since it was a private matter and it involved Rice, not Wright, Township. Marshall asserted that the move was unethical because of Wright Township’s involvement,