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Resignation Letter Reignites Police Debate
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A resignation letter from a Borough of East Greenville Police Department officer to Borough Council reignited a debate over the future of the department.

            Following a vote opposing a motion to advertise for a full-time officer during Monday's public meeting, two residents accused Mayor Keith Gerhart of harboring a desire to dissolve the department and reconnect the municipality with the Upper Perk Police Department.

            Then, after meeting in an executive session to discuss its specifics, the members voted unanimously to reject the officer's conditional resignation letter. According to Solicitor Michael Peters, the letter would be returned to the unnamed officer for further clarification.

            During the solicitor's comments portion of the agenda, Peters announced that the council received a resignation letter Sunday. Marita Thomson suggested that the members discuss the issue publically. Vice President Jim Raftery suggested that council act immediately to fill the position.

            Gerhart, who suggested that he talk to the chief before any serious plans are made, cast the tie-breaking vote against the motion. Marita Thomson, Alison Palmer and Raftery voted affirmatively.

            President Angie Fegely and Douglas Criddle voted against it. Lon Brinckman II abstained. Brinckman, through Peters, declined to offer an explanation for the abstention.

            Fegely said the letter should be discussed a little bit more to see what council's options are. According to the president, they could include full-time or part-time hires.

            Debbie Finn then asked Gerhart if he still wanted to make a deal with Pennsburg to utilize the neighboring borough's department. The mayor told her there have been no discussions with the municipality.

            Paul Sevarese accused Gerhart of having a personal agenda to eliminate the department. Sevarese cited Gerhart's body language as evidence that he is "avoiding the issue."

            "I am tired of being accused of doing things behind the scenes," Gerhart said in response to Finn's comments.

            Raftery attempted to convince Finn that council had no plans to return to the Upper Perk police. He vouched for every member on the board, and said he would resign his seat if a plan emerged.

            "It's not on the table," Raftery told Finn. "No one is doing anything sneaky. You have my word. If (Gerhart) is working behind the scenes, then I am the biggest fool on the planet." 

            The municipal police department handled 77 of 86 calls for service in June, according to information provided by Chief Andrew Skelton. It also recorded 190 total traffic stops, foot patrols and EMS and fire department assists.

             The officers responded to four thefts, made no arrests and issued 15 traffic citations and three parking tickets.





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