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East Greenville Police Chief Remains on Leave
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Drew Skelton, chief of the Borough of East Greenville Police Department, has yet to return to work after placing himself on unpaid leave last week. Skelton cited a toxic work environment for his decision.

            The leave started at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 6. Skelton informed members of borough council and municipal employees of his decision through an electronic message the same day, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

            The borough responded with a letter which Skelton, on Wednesday, confirmed receiving. However, the law enforcement official declined to reveal the substance of the correspondence.

            "In light of the ongoing events, it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on this matter," Skelton said.

            Council President Angie Fegely and Manager Jim Fry did not return multiple email messages seeking comment on Skelton's status, police coverage in the borough and other issues. Mayor Keith Gerhart referred all questions to Solicitor Michael Peters.

            On Tuesday, an email from Peters referred only to a recently held executive session that will be announced and explained at the next council meeting as required by the Sunshine Act.   

            Seven days earlier, Skelton expressed shock at a decision by Mayor Keith Gerhart to publically disclose details of Project X at the borough's police station located in Colonial Village during the Sept. 4 council meeting. Municipal officials had previously attempted to keep that activity secret, citing officer security.

            East Greenville council voted to advertise the bid specifications for Project X during the Aug. 20 public meeting.

            Last week, the police chief described the disclosure as "reckless and negligent," adding that the mayor's words put him and his staff at risk. After the meeting, Gerhart said he made the announcement because a current member of council discussed the details at a public meeting earlier this year.

            Further, the mayor claimed that the proposal to install steel plates at the station was mentioned during meetings in 2017 and that those references are reflected in the corresponding meeting minutes.

            "Even if the mayor's statement that Project X was revealed publically prior to the meeting was true, I see no valid reason why he would have to disclose the information," Skelton said the day after the meeting.

            According to the police chief, the mayor should have considered continuing to refer to the project as Project X until the work was completed.

            The Upper Perk Police Department has not received a request for additional coverage in East Greenville, according to acting UPPD Chief Joe Adam, Jr. He said last week that if the East Greenville's remaining active officer – Joshua Halteman – needs help, the Pennsburg department will assist.





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