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East Greenville Officer to Receive New Contract Offer
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            East Greenville's only full-time police officer will receive a new contract offer. On Monday night, council unanimously approved a draft offer for Off. Josh Halteman.

            Mayor Keith Gerhart said he expected to present the offer to Halteman no later than Wednesday. After the meeting, Gerhart declined to disclose any details of the proposed contract.  Additionally, the mayor said he and Halteman had a brief discussion about the contract proposal.

            According to Gerhart, the proposed contract would replace the officer's current agreement. Halteman, who was hired in August of 2017 as a part-time officer, was promoted to full time two months later, will earn $56,000 in 2019 and $58,000 in 2020, according to the language of his police officer employment agreement obtained from borough officials. The contract includes language that would entitle him to the equivalent of nine months of salary and benefits "upon termination."

            Earlier this month, council granted Gerhart permission to begin a contract negotiation with Halteman after the officer sent a letter to borough officials requesting to renegotiate his agreement.

            The intent is to streamline his four-year agreement, which expires at the end of 2020. "It's missing a few things," Halteman said after the Jan. 7 public meeting. The officer declined to comment further on the situation.

            Council discussed the proposal during an executive session Monday. The members spent one hour, 47 minutes deliberating privately on personnel issues before considering public business, according to an announcement by President Angie Fegely. 

            In other news, council approved an ordinance amendment which allows the police department and Jim Fry, the borough's manager and code enforcement officer, to issue $25 parking tickets in public lots. According to Fry, the amendment will impact lots at the intersection of Bank and Washington Streets and at Borough Hall on Main Street.

            The discovery of an abandoned vehicle in the lot Bank and Washington streets in November triggered the ordinance, according to Fry. He said after the meeting that illegal parking in the borough is not a significant issue in the municipality. The manager also said the ordinance amendment is a preventative measure.

            Previously, borough code did not allow municipal officials to issue traffic tickets, according to the manager. He said their only recourse had been to have the vehicle towed, which could occur only after a notice and certified letter sent to the vehicle owner. The entire process could take two weeks.  

            The members also unanimously approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford utility truck with a snow plow at a cost of $66,143. The new vehicle will replace a 2000 Ford 150, according to Fry.

            Though the termination hearing for Drew Skelton, chief of the Borough of East Greenville Police Department, is scheduled to resume Thursday at 10 a.m., Gerhart didn't know if it would conclude or spill over to another date.  "There's still more testimony that needs to occur," the mayor said after the meeting.

            Once the hearing ends, the lawyer officiating the hearing has the right to request written findings of fact from the attorneys representing the borough and Skelton, according to the Solicitor Michael Peters. He said the hearing officer will then issue a written decision within a deadline determined by both parties, most likely 30 days.





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