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Cut in Half: UPPD Reduced to Four Members
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Mark Adamski and James McVeigh are the two police officers being laid off by the Upper Perk Police Department. Both officers have been informed of borough council's decision made during a Jan. 24 special public meeting, according to council President Kris Kirkwood. He stated Monday that their last day on the force will be April 26.

            Corporal James Lavin has been assigned to the Montgomery County Detective Bureau for a 12-month period. The borough and the county will split the cost of his salary as part of a loan agreement. Lavin, who will not be working any shifts in Pennsburg during this period, expects to join the bureau in February.

            The members also unanimously ratified an early retirement offer to Chief Michael Devlin. The layoffs, pending retirement and reassignment will leave the department with four officers and prevent the department from providing round-the-clock coverage in the borough, according to the council president. He estimated that the remaining Upper Perk police officers would cover between 60 percent and 75 percent of the hours.

            "That's my best guess," Kirkwood said after the special meeting.

            Last week, during a special public meeting, the members considered a revised budget that calls for eliminating $350,000 worth of expenditures, according to council President Kris Kirkwood. He stated after the meeting that Pennsburg would save approximately $316,000 in salaries from the layoffs and Devlin's retirement. Additionally, he said that the borough expects to generate the additional $34,000 by selling unneeded equipment. He identified two police cars and one van as well as firearms and old computers. He declined to disclose if any of those items were being sought by East Greenville officials.

            "I can't answer that question," Kirkwood said after the meeting. "I don't know the answer."

            Member Robert Seville cast the lone vote against the motion to lay off the officers. He said they will be sorely missed. "It should have never come to this," said Seville, a retired police officer, fighting back tears. "It upsets me very much (that his happened.) The Upper Perk Valley is going to take a big loss because of this."

            Adamski and James McVeigh were both hired in 2008. Adamski was sworn in during the April meeting of the Upper Perkiomen Police Commission. McVeigh, a 2005 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, was hired six months later and placed on immediate active duty, according to the Town and Country archives.

            "Officers Adamski and McVeigh served the borough with honor and integrity," Kirkwood wrote in a text Tuesday. "It is unfortunate that they have become victims of what I believe to be an unscrupulous political agenda."

            Municipal officials are required to provide three months' notice to each employee, according to Solicitor Matthew Hovey. He said the officers, the lowest tenured in the department, are entitled to 10 weeks of severance pay, according to Mayor Vicki Lightcap.

            Council also offered an early retirement to any officer over the age of 50 with at least 25 years of service. According to Member Fred Schutte, any officer who accepts the offer would receive full pension benefits.

            According to the council president, Devlin has not yet accepted the early retirement package. However, Kirkwood said he expects Devlin to sign off on the agreement soon. He stated in a text message that when the current chief retires, Sgt. Joseph Adam Jr. will serve as the acting chief.

            "Joe Adam has been filling in when the chief is absent and is doing well," the council president wrote in a text Monday.

            Kirkwood added that a timeline to hire a new chief would be determined when Devlin's retirement takes effect. He stated that the borough's Civil Service commission will review the details of hiring a new chief.





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