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Officials Approve Third Full-Time Officer in East Greenville
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Resident Ejected during Special Meeting


            East Greenville Borough Council voted Monday to promote its part-time police officer to a full-time position. Moments later, the officer, Joshua Halteman, completed his first official action as a full-time member of the borough's police department by escorting a resident from the proceedings.

            A special meeting called by borough officials to add a third full-time officer and purchase furniture for the municipality's new police headquarters devolved into arguments between residents and council members.

            Prior to council's vote to spend up to $9,900 to furnish the converted Colonial Village Clubhouse, President Tracey Hunsinger directed Halteman, the officer on duty, to escort Michael Schwenk from the meeting.

            Prior to the removal, which occurred about midway through the 27-minute meeting, Hunsinger reminded Schwenk and several other residents to direct their comments only to council on multiple occasions. She said that any resident who did not comply with the rule, which she explained at the beginning of the meeting, would be asked to leave.

            The council president issued Schwenk a warning after he responded to a statement made by Tanya Jones, a resident of Blaker Drive. Following additional crosstalk by the audience, Hunsinger admonished those citizens.

            "You guys need to follow the rule," she said. "Please go outside if you don't feel like you can be quiet during this meeting."

            After Jones expressed support for the borough's newly created police department and requested that future members not rely on personal agendas to make decisions, Schwenk spoke out of turn. 

            Hunsinger then asked Schwenk to "please leave." Schwenk said, "No."

            Halteman stood up from his seat in the back of the room, walked over to Schwenk and asked him to go.

            Initially, Schwenk, defied the officer's direction. After Halteman threatened to charge the resident with trespassing, Schwenk relented and walked towards the front door, leaving the meeting.

            The third officer will allow the municipal department to provide local coverage 75 percent of the time, according to Mayor Ryan Sloyer. Only council member Ryan Pugh voted against the motion to promote Halteman, which was completed without discussion.

            Responding to an audience member, Sloyer would not disclose the new officer's salary. After the meeting, he declined to provide any details on Halteman's contract until it was signed by both parties.

            "You can file a Right to Know request on that," he said during the meeting.

            The mayor also declined to answer an audience question about the salaries and contracts of Police Chief Andrew Skelton and officer Randy Morris. He advised the resident to file a Right to Know request to learn that information, as well.

            Pugh also voted against a motion to spend up to $9,900 for evidence shelves, desks, chairs, file cabinets, a finger printing work station, a weapons storage facility and a 10' x 4' conference table with 10 chairs. Sloyer identified these items as necessary to make the facility a functional police department.

            Early in the meeting, Hunsinger explained that borough officials needed the special meeting to make sure the department was furnished so it could open during the first week in November. Sloyer informed the public that the municipality would open the public portions of the new facility during an open house.

            After the meeting, the mayor said the work to convert the clubhouse is 85 percent complete.

            "It looks great," Sloyer said.

            At the start of the meeting, Hunsinger told the audience council held an executive session at 6:30 p.m. Monday due to personnel issues.

            "We were discussing the police contracts, as well as consulting with our lawyer over the lawsuit," she said. Hunsinger did not elaborate about the lawsuit discussed.





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