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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • The truth lies at the heart of the police issue

  • The next couple of weeks should prove interesting when it comes to the selection of the police chief in Honesdale.
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    The next couple of weeks should prove interesting when it comes to the selection of the police chief in Honesdale.
    Last week, the council voted to recommend former FBI agent Rick Southerton as the new chief. That recommendation now goes to the Honesdale Civil Service Commission for approval.
    But what happens if the commission doesn't give its approval?
    That seems like a real possibility, especially given the fact the commission asked for and was given $1,000 from the council last week for legal counsel.
    Bill McAllister of the commission said the group wanted to find out what is the exact role of the commission.
    Reading between the lines, it appears the commission may be finding out what it would exactly mean if they voted not to recommend Southerton for the position.
    As McAllister explained recently, under normal circumstances the commission is basically a "rubber stamp" when it comes to recommendations.
    But the circumstances in this case are anything but normal.
    This time, it involves a local magistrate, a court order from a district judge, the police union and just about anything else you can throw into the mix. Couple that with the fact there are ongoing negotiations with the union and the council and the powder keg is ripe to blow.
    Where the pieces fall remain to be seen.
    A lot could hinge on what the commission does when it meets to interview Southerton.
    Meanwhile, the acting chief, Sgt. Ron Kominski, has filed a court action against the borough council members for violation of the state's open meetings laws.
    As one of our Facebook commenters put it, this is a real "soap opera."
    Page 2 of 2 - Indeed, it plays better than "Days of Our Lives," however, this is no soap opera. This is reality and it involves the safety of everyone who lives in or comes to Honesdale Borough.
    The games which have been played surrounding this issue would be comical if it wasn't so serious. We're talking about a police department. The group of people charged with keeping the citizens safe.
    There's little doubt many hard feelings and hard heads are involved in this entire situation. There's also no doubt bad blood has been boiling for quite some time to bring this situation to its present state.
    But those are not viable excuses.
    It's almost more like middle school than real-world matters involving public safety. Too many people are taking too many things very personally and it shows.
    Councilman Jim Brennan recently ranted at this newspaper for writing an editorial about the misguided process which has been used in this entire issue.
    Sorry councilman Brennan, but the newspaper did not create this mess. We didn't organize illegal meetings and we didn't wave around a resume behind closed doors. We certainly didn't rant about Kominski without even giving him notice.
    This issue is not about the newspaper, it's about the dysfunction on the council.
    Period.

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