A retiring Honesdale Borough police sergeant says the council should choose the next chief from within the department.
— A retiring Honesdale Borough police sergeant says the council should choose the next chief from within the department.
Sgt. Donald Bishop addressed the council during its regular monthly meeting on Monday night.
Bishop said he was speaking on behalf of the Honesdale Police Officers Association (HPOA).
Bishop said it is a "long time" tradition in the borough that the police chief is a "working chief" and a member of the HPOA.
He said it has been "brought to the attention" of some that borough council is "considering someone outside of the HPOA" to be the new chief.
He said if that was the case, the person could only be a "desk chief," and not even be able to make arrests, according to Pennsylvania state law.
Bishop said more than 20 years ago, in 1990, the Honesdale force was down four officers and the council was slow to replace those officers.
"I was concerned," he said.
Bishop said it "took an officer being assaulted" for the council to start hiring officers.
He pointed out the borough has lost three officers in the last two years and he is retiring at the end of September, meaning the force is going to be reduced unless something happens quickly.
Bishop said the police union is asking the council to "take the right steps" when choosing the next chief of police.
In a related matter, council president F.J. Monaghan said the borough has received nine applications for the job of chief.
The council decided to have a special meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 28 to conduct interviews. It will be done in executive session.
Also concerning the police, the council approved spending $1,900 for the Civil Service Commission to certify an eligibility list for appointments for patrolman.
However, it was also stated that only one candidate passed the civil service test and that person is no longer interested in joining the force.
"I think the Civil Service Commission should look at the exams," said councilman Scott Smith.
"I agree with you," said Mayor Ed Langendoerfer.
But Bill McAllister, a member of the civil service board, said he thinks the test is "adequate."
"We need to look at it," countered the mayor.
McAllister said he thinks the potential officers need to "study more" for the exam.
Bishop pointed out the test was just developed and he didn't think there was an adequate study guide developed for the people taking the test.
The council voted to pay the money but didn't take action on changing or looking into the actual test.
Also concerning the police, Langendoerfer said he appreciated the work Smith had been doing in the negotiations process. He said the negotiations are "moving forward" and thinks it is a positive step.
Between the lines
Another matter discussed was the issue of line painting on Church, Park and Main streets in the borough.
Borough engineer Mary Bogart said she had put together a bid package for the work. However, Monaghan said he had been on vacation and had not yet had a chance to review the packet.
But Bogart said she didn't think it was necessary at this point in the year.
"In doing research," said Bogart, "I say spring is the better time and most likely you will get better pricing in the spring."
The issue came up recently during a council discussion in which it was made clear the borough is responsible for the line painting even though it is a state highway.
Many local residents have complained about the dangers which are posed because the lines are hardly visible on the streets.
"Why not continue the process but not have the work done until spring?" asked Smith.
Bogart, who is hired by the council to make recommendations, said it is her "understanding" there will be better pricing available in the spring.
She also said because colder weather is just around the corner, by doing it in the spring, it would extend the life of the painting on the streets.
"My concern," said Smith, "is how long it has taken us ... to get to this point."
Bogart said most of the legwork is done and it would only be a matter of changing dates on the documents in the early spring and then putting it out for bid.
In the end, the council decided to table the issue.