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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Proposed contract raises eyebrows

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    - Part of a proposed borough police contract calls for the department to receive a 23 percent increase in wages over seven years and contribute a flat rate of 1.5 percent toward health-care contributions between 2014-20.
    Council is holding a special meeting tonight at 5 p.m. to discuss and possibly vote on the proposed contract.
    The proposed contract includes 2014 salaries of the Honesdale officers: Keith Colombo, $67,975; Ronald Kominski, $61,509; Robert Langman, $64,687; Sean LeStrange, $64,164; and Donald Thacher, $61,409.
    In addition, the employee contributions to health care under the proposed contract would not go above 1.5 percent of their salaries over seven years.
    For instance, in 2014, the officers are scheduled to contribute $4,796, while the 2014 health insurance/borough costs are listed as $97,959.
    "It's outrageous. That is so unfair to the taxpayers" said Councilman Robert Jennings, noting he will vote against the contract.
    Voting for the contract will be Councilwoman Tiffany Kominski, a cousin of officer Ronald Kominski. She noted the officer is not an immediate relative.
    While it is not against the law for a council member to vote for a relative who is not immediate family, it could have the appearance of impropriety, said Melissa Melewsky, media law council with the Pennsylvania News Media Association in Harrisburg.
    Tiffany Kominski added, in a reference to council President James Brennan, "I feel the people who should abstain from voting (on the contract) are the people who have been arrested and have a vendetta against the police department."
    Brennan responded, "If Tiffany feels I'm not doing my job properly that's her opinion," adding that he has no vendetta against borough police.
    When questioned about the flat 1.5 percent insurance rate proposed to be paid by officers over seven years, Brennan said he was happy that the police union agreed to a percentage and it is a step in the right direction.
    In prior years, police officers were only required to pay $10 per paycheck toward health insurance, he said.
    Council Vice President Bill Canfield, when questioned by phone about the police salaries and insurance contributions, said it was not a matter of public record.
    Contract breakdown
    According to the proposed seven-year contract, the five officers are schedule to receive a combined $319,747 in 2014, paying $4,796 toward health insurance; in 2015 the department is schedule to receive a combined $329,339 in salaries and pay $4,940 toward health insurance; in 2016 the officers are scheduled to receive a combined $340,043 in salaries and $5,100 toward health insurance; in 2017 the officers would receive combined salaries of $351,094 and pay $5,265 toward health insurance; in 2018 the numbers would be $363,382 in combined salaries and $5,450 toward health insurance; in 2019 the officers would receive a combined $376,101 in salaries and contribute $5,641 in health benefits; and in 2020 the officers would receive a combined $389,264 in salary and pay $5,838 toward health insurance.
    Page 2 of 2 - Councilman Scott Smith said that during negotiations there were "gives and takes" but he would not be more specific. He noted that other borough employees eligible for health insurance pay 10 percent of their total health-care costs.
    Councilwoman Juanita Pisano said she is "not in tune" with the proposed contract but she would not say how she plans to vote, if it comes to a vote.
    Mayor Ed Langendoerfer, who oversees the police department, did not return a phone message Thursday afternoon.

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