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East Greenville Officials Nix Pennsburg’s Mediation Condition
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Writer

Clock ticking towards June 1 deadline for regional police department breakup.

                Mediation between the boroughs of the Upper Perk Police District has stalled again after East Greenville Borough Council officials on Tuesday rejected a requirement by Pennsburg that the borough remain in the commission until the end of the year.

                Through a news release, East Greenville officials announced their refusal to comply with a motion from the neighboring community that requires them to extend the withdrawal date from the commission to Dec. 31.

                Written by Solicitor Stephen Kramer, with input from all members of council and read aloud by council President Tracey Hunsinger, the release describes Pennsburg's conditional motion as "ultimately a rejection" of East Greenville's Jan. 10 "motion to mediate."

                "The motion we passed contained no strings," Kramer said after the public meeting. "The motion Pennsburg passed included a substantial string."

                Seven days earlier, Pennsburg council voted unanimously to move forward with formal mediation with East Greenville. However, the resolution included the condition that East Greenville extend its withdrawal date from June 1 to the end of the year.

                Pennsburg Council President Kris Kirkwood said after the Jan. 17 meeting that the condition was attached to assure that the communities could have "meaningful time to mediate."

                According to Kramer, East Greenville officials understood the conditional motion as evidence that Pennsburg was not interested in participating in mediation. So East Greenville council members decided to end a verbal confidentiality agreement between the municipalities in order to inform their residents on the reasons for their decision.

                "From our perspective, the talks have ended," the solicitor said after the meeting. "So the agreement is over."

                According to the release, officials from both boroughs met in two "pre-mediation" meetings to discuss the retention of a mediator. East Greenville made it clear that it has concerns about the cost of police services, the inability of the commission to break voting ties and the ongoing dispute over the commission solicitor.

                Pennsburg's most recent vote over the issue of East Greenville's withdrawal date shows an attempt to "delay meaningful mediation," the release states.

                The withdrawal date should be an issue for the mediation, not a bargaining chip to be played before it can occur, Hunsinger said. 

                According to Mayor Ryan Sloyer, Pennsburg officials approved the conditional measure in order to delay the mediation.  "We could have started this process in February," Sloyer said during the meeting.

                Chris Baccari, an Upper Hanover resident and a retired police officer, called Pennsburg's motion "a complete slap in the face" to East Greenville.  "At the end of the day, we have to go back to Pennsburg and hold them accountable," Baccari said. "If Pennsburg is sabotaging this because their council members want their own police department, we have to call them out on it."

                During the meeting, East Greenville officials expressed a willingness to enter mediation with the neighboring municipality. 

                "It is borough council's hope that Pennsburg reconsiders its motion and agrees to mediation with East Greenville," the release states.

                According to Hunsinger, the mediation can move forward if Pennsburg officials reconsider the condition at their Feb. 7 public meeting.

                Otherwise, she said, East Greenville officials will pursue all their "options to provide cost effective, professional police service to its residents."  






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