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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Timing stinks on situation with police

  • The timing could not be worse for everyone involved — especially the taxpayers.
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  • The timing could not be worse for everyone involved — especially the taxpayers.
    A story on our front page today details what appears to be a major riff between the Honesdale Police Department union and the borough council.
    Many issues are in play, including what seems to clearly be an illegal executive session held by the council.
    The circumstances surrounding the police situation is quite complicated. It comes as a new police chief is about to be hired and just four months before the current contract between the union and the borough expires.
    That is certainly rotten timing.
    Understandably, the police aren't saying a whole lot, though some information is coming out about what has taken place and what could happen in the future.
    The real possibility exists that grievances could be filed by the union against the council. And they appear to be legitimate.
    It's a real shame because up to this point, the negotiations process seems to be moving along nicely. The possibility exists that will continue, but this recent turn of events could but a huge damper on the situation.
    Honesdale Mayor Ed Langendoerfer thinks the latter is the case.
    He is frustrated with the entire episode, saying the council has not acted properly when dealing with personnel matters.
    On that front, he's right.
    Conducting an executive session directed at a borough employee without giving that employee proper notice is simply wrong.
    Some on the council are chastising the mayor for even mentioning what happened at the executive session, saying it should have stayed behind closed doors.
    Yet if an executive session is done without proper notice, both to the public and to an employee, how can that not be discussed?
    Page 2 of 3 - One of the unmentioned parts of what seems to be taking place is pure politics. Those involved will say politics is not at play, but they are not talking straight.
    Having an executive session is one thing, but we all know there are telephones and email accounts and you can bet they are both going strong when it comes to this issue.
    Politics is in play very strongly and that's a big shame.
    Hiring a police chief should not be political.
    There's little question some on the council don't see eye-to-eye with the police department. That is their right.
    But when it comes to hiring the next chief of police, that has to be put aside. They have to look at the qualifications of the applicants and make a decision based on that criteria.
    Simply being handed a resume and then being asked to make that person their choice of preference is wrong in every aspect of this situation.
    The job of police chief is crucial in a small town. The chief is not only the head of the department, but also works the streets and gets to know the local residents and business owners.
    The chief is someone who has to make the tough calls but has to show compassion and understanding when it comes to enforcing the law.
    These are the qualities members of the council should be seeking when making a decision about who to hire. Politics and personal agendas have no business in this arena, however, it seems that is the case.
    But why?
    That's a tough question.
    Much of it is most likely personal. For police officers, making enemies goes with the territory. No matter what you do, someone is going to get mad.
    Page 3 of 3 - That, however, is the nature of the beast. We've all probably had issues with police officers, but when we need them, they are our best friends. And the Honesdale Borough Police Department has operated very well in recent years.
    That has got to be taken into consideration by this council.
    This issue could probably be resolved by all parties sitting down, in public, and discussing the problems and potential solutions.
    That doesn't appear likely to happen in the near future. Unfortunately, time is of the essence because a chief is going to be hired.
    It's too bad it all has to come down like this. There is a better way and maybe the time has come for the public to demand that politics be put aside, that everyone put on their big girl panties and some decisions get made.
    We all would be better off.
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