SUNBURY -- There’s a change at the top of the force in the police department in Sunbury.
Just weeks after a high profile murder case thrust him into the national spotlight, Police Chief Stephen Mazzeo is out.
During Monday's city council meeting, Sunbury Mayor David Persing announced that Chief Mazzeo was being demoted to an active duty officer, citing personnel issues and low department morale.
The mayor appointed an acting chief while officials search for a new chief for Sunbury.
“You cannot use Chief Mazzeo as a scapegoat for your shortcomings.”
It was a show of support for ousted Sunbury Police Chief Stephen Mazzeo after the mayor of Sunbury announced the chief was being demoted to a police officer.
“Is this a personal thing between you and him?” asked one resident.
“No,” said the mayor.
“Don't you think we have the right to know what's going on?” she then asked.
Mayor David Persing broke the news at Sunbury's city council meeting Monday evening, saying the former chief was now on two weeks of paid leave.
Citing personnel issues, the mayor's only reasoning for reassigning the chief was this:
“The mayor will be reevaluating many concerns within the department which include budget retrains, high accumulation of compensatory time among officers and abuse of sick time. These all lead to the inability to be proactive and to low morale within the department,” the mayor read from a news release.
However, many residents said the chief was doing a great job combating serious crimes, including the arrests of Miranda and Elytte Barbour.
The married couple is accused of killing a man Miranda met on Craig's List last November in Sunbury. The murder and arrests gained national attention.
“I didn't see any problem with the Craig's List killer situation. That was all handled professionally and very smoothly,” said one resident.
At the meeting, Mayor Persing appointed Sunbury Police Corporal Brad Hare as acting chief for the next 90 days as the city searches for a new chief.
“We're going to move on. We're going to move forward. We have a great bunch of guys, a veteran groups of guys who know what they're doing,” said Hare.