HONESDALE - A hearing is scheduled for a borough police officer who had filed a grievance after not being reimbursed for meal expenses.

Acting Sgt. Keith Colombo had filed the grievance after the borough would not reimburse him $17.85 for meal expenses while he was at a training session in Berlin Township.

The officer paid for the lunches at a restaurant on Route 6 in Texas Township on May 5 and 6 and filed for reimbursement, which was denied.

An arbitration hearing is scheduled for April. If the case goes to arbitration it could cost the borough thousands in legal fees.

Colombo said Tuesday that the grievance "seems senseless" but he is taking the action base on principal.

"I could care less about the 17 bucks," said the officer, adding that the borough is trying to "push around" the police union.

"They just do what they want to," the officer said of borough council members.

Colombo had filed the grievance based on "past practice."

In a letter to the borough, the officer had said he has been a police officer for about 14 years and "it has always been past practice since the beginning of my employment that the borough reimburse its police members according to the state allotments for meals and mileage."

It had been pointed out that other Honesdale officers attended the same training session as Colombo and did not seek reimbursement for their meals.

Colombo addressed that in an interview Tuesday.

He said four officers had attended the same training session. Two of the officers, he said, were on duty at the time so they could not file for reimbursements.

Colombo and another officer were off duty at the time they attended the training. The other officer, who was not identified, elected to not file for meal reimbursement, Colombo acknowledged.

Still, Colombo said, it is his right to file for reimbursement because borough council had no written policy about meal expenses.

Borough Council members on Tuesday either had no comment or could not be reached.

Regardless of how Colombo's case is resolved, council has enacted a new policy regarding meal reimbursements.

The policy reads:

"All full-time and part-time officers will be reimbursed for the cost of meals while traveling outside of Wayne County. Only breakfast, lunch and dinner are considered meals.

"Breakfast will only be reimbursed when an officer has an overnight stay, or if travel requires them to be on the road prior to two hours before their scheduled start time. Dinner will only be reimbursed when an officer has an overnight stay, or is returning to the county from travel after 7 p.m."

Meal reimbursements are:

• Breakfast and lunch - up to $10 per meal when allowed

• Dinner - up to $20 per meal when allowed

All meal reimbursements are to be submitted to Chief Rick Southerton with a detailed, itemized receipt.