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Council President Kris Kirkwood’s Prepared Remarks
2014-12-02

Pennsburg Borough Council President Kris Kirkwood's prepared remarks presented to the Town & Country for publication on Dec. 3, 2014

            The residents of Pennsburg and East Greenville are fortunate to have available to them the services of the Upper Perkiomen Police Department.

            Under the leadership of Chief Michael Devlin, this department has grown to become well respected throughout the county.  Residents are able to walk the streets safely, businesses are able to prosper without the worry of harm to employees or their livelihood.  Anyone who has paid attention to the news this year can see that this team of police officers have been actively working to keep our community safe.  Several drug busts were made that affected not just our community, but our neighbors, as well.

            The Police Commission, Chaired by Andrew Rock and Co-Chaired by Vicki Lightcap, have worked diligently on the Police budget and Chiefs contract this year to ensure that our police protection is sustainable for years to come.  In their efforts, they discovered that insurance coverages did not match the contract for the officers, leaving them unprotected in the event of a personal catastrophe.  This lack of coverage went all the way back to 2002 and was clearly the responsibility of Mayor Sloyer to ensure our officers were in fact protected by this insurance coverage.

            Chairman Rock and Vice-Chair Lightcap wanted to bring the Chief's contract up to the same standards as the officers' contract.  It was the fair and appropriate thing to do!  They were able to accomplish this under the same budget that was recently adopted.  Mayor Sloyers' figures only show costs associated with the new contract. He did not compare those costs to the current contract.  If he did, you would not find a significant increase in costs and thusly negating his argument.

            Mayor Sloyer acted inappropriately by disclosing publicly details of a contract under negotiation.  Pennsburg had not ratified the contract, making the negotiation process still active. This violated the Chief's rights to have a private negotiation process.  I believe Mayor Sloyer was once again trying to politically bully Pennsburg Officials into finalizing the contract under public pressure as he did in 2011 with the 2012 budget, which resulted in the laying off of 2 officers.

            I personally feel it is a conflict of interest for Mayor Sloyer to vote on an issue that he or a family member could stand to gain from financially.  With his wife serving as the tax collector for East Greenville, her salary is based upon the revenue of taxes.  Mayor Sloyers' vote on a budget could therefore, impact the tax rate and give her a salary increase.

            I voted against the Chiefs contract changes because I felt he was being personally attacked through this negotiation process by Mayor Sloyer and that he was not being treated fairly.  The changes instituted by Mayor Sloyer had no substantial effect on the budget and can only lead to the conclusion of a personal conflict.

            I encourage Pennsburg and East Greenville to continue working together as we have, in the interest of the public we represent.  

            I hope that Mayor Sloyer can put this matter to rest so we can move forward and continue to serve the community


 

 

 

 

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