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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Editorial: Brazen actions by council have lead to this predicament

  • It was about as surprising at the sun rising in the east.
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  • It was about as surprising at the sun rising in the east.
    The union representing the Honesdale Police Department has filed an unfair labor practices action against the borough.
    The crux of the action centers around the borough council's recent decision to create the position of a police commissioner instead of hiring a police chief.
    The basis for the action points out the position of commissioner is not part of the current collective bargaining agreement. It says the council did not consult the union about the position.
    But this issue goes well beyond the narrow scope of what the union can do during an unfair labor practices hearing.
    There are some glaring issues surrounding the borough council and it's time they need to be addressed.
    One issue is the fact the council simply created a new position of police commissioner.
    They did this without having a job description in place.
    So how can someone take a job as police commissioner without knowing the duties?
    How could the council create the position and fork out $45,000 a year without letting the person know their job?
    Who is training this person?
    How could anyone train this person if there is no job description concerning the duties of the commissioner?
    Would someone in the police department even be comfortable training someone without knowing what that person should be trained to do?
    Could someone even be liable if the training turned out to be a duty which is not legal for the new person to perform?
    Does the council realize it is opening up the residents of the borough to see their taxes skyrocket? It is a real possibility given the circumstances which have lead to this situation.
    When actions such as this are filed, who pays for it?
    The taxpayers.
    Win or lose, the borough is going to lose because money is coming out of the coffers to support their misguided actions.
    Here's what councilman Harry DeVrieze had to say in a letter to the editor last week:
    "Will taking a stand cost money? Undoubtedly, but constant bowing to the threats of litigation also cost money. It equates to legal bullying, and that, the residents of Honesdale should not be subjected to."
    What he fails to mention is the council's complete lack of planning which has led to any future litigation. The blame goes squarely on the members of the council.
    Out of the blue they created this position with no public discussion or input. Nobody had a clue with the exception of the members who had likely pre-planned it all in advance.
    Page 2 of 2 - That in itself goes against state law. Yet even these members who were recently found guilty of violating state law don't seem to understand or care as they go down the same path.
    In most cases like this, there are two sides to every story. But in this case, there is only one side and that's the incompetence of the council to follow the law.
    But beyond that, it's just the sheer brazenness they exhibit by shunning the taxpayers and doing whatever the hell they want.

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