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Local District Justice Candidate Accused Of Using Sick Time To Campaign

PENN HILLS (KDKA) – Pennsylvania's primary election is Tuesday.

The statewide ballot features nominations contests for an unprecedented three state seats on the State Supreme Court.

Also on that statewide ballot are democratic contests for one open seat each on the superior and commonwealth courts.

There are also hundreds of local contests.

It's candidate's night in Penn Hills and five people are vying for the open district justice seat, including Allegheny County Sheriff Deputy John Petrucci.

Although, other candidates have questioned how he has the time to campaign.

"Well, what I heard was that he was off work on sick leave," said Jolando Hinton.

Petrucci's been off work for several weeks campaigning, and KDKA's Andy Sheehan caught up with him Friday afternoon at his home and posed this question:

Sheehan: "Are you on sick leave right now?"

Petrucci: "Am I on sick leave? I'm on some personal leave."
Sheehan: "Sick leave?"

Petrucci: "Personal leave right now."

Petrucci denied being off sick, saying he was taking compensatory time – known as comp time.

Sheehan: "Do you think it's right that the taxpayer is paying while you run for district justice?"

Petrucci: "Personally, I acquired those hours working for the sheriff's office. It's my time. It was owed to me."

Sheehan: "I'm not sure that's how it works."

Petrucci: "Well, that's how it works in the sheriff's office. It's called compensatory time."

But when KDKA tried to confirm that with his boss, Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen, he said that wasn't true.

Sheehan: "He's on sick leave?"

Mullen: "Yes, sir."

Sheehan: "He says he's on comp time."

Mullen: "He is eligible for compensatory time, time owed, in lieu of overtime that he chose to take months ago, but he has not asked to take that at this time."

Although he has comp to take, Mullen said Petrucci is on sick leave, but Petrucci continued to say he is not.

Sheehan: "You're being paid by the taxpayer. You're on sick leave, but apparently not sick enough not to run for district justice."

Petrucci: "Like I said before, it was personal time."

And all of that raises a red flag for his opponent Jolando Hinton.

Hinton: "If you're sick, you should be home. If you're on extended sick leave, you should be at home."

Sheehan: "But he's collecting a paycheck and he's running for district justice."

Hinton: "If those facts are true, then he's misleading the public and it's wrong."

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