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News Article
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East Greenville Councilman Resigns
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Officials Decide too late to Follow His Advice on Police Ordinance


            The acrimonious nature of the municipality's deliberations to leave the Upper Perk Police Commission and start its own police department motivated Michael Perlow Jr. to resign from East Greenville Borough Council – after just 35 days of service.

            Perlow, who submitted his letter of resignation Monday, decided to step down after becoming convinced that other members weren't taking his suggestions to slow down the process seriously.

            However, council members also decided Monday to heed Perlow's concerns and delayed voting on an ordinance that would create an independent police force.

            On Tuesday, Perlow expressed concerns over the rancor displayed by council members and residents during multiple public meetings. Perlow said there was no reason for him to serve unless municipal officials decided to push back their June 1 dissolution date and meeting attendees dial down the rhetoric.

            "It's hard to sit by and watch this go on," said Perlow, who accepted a February 28 appointment to replace Lee Steinert. "It's sad that we got here."

            In his resignation letter, addressed to Hunsinger and read aloud by council member Jennifer Moran, Perlow did not offer any reasons for leaving the council.

            He wrote that he supported council's decision to withdraw from the commission for financial reasons. The retired geotechnical engineer also said he agreed with the conclusion that the commission's governing model, which includes three members each from East Greenville and Pennsburg, is unworkable.

            However, on Tuesday, Perlow told the Town and Country newspaper that council members weren't listening to his concerns over slowing the process to start the East Greenville Borough Police Department. On March 28, he asked the members to delay consideration of the ordinance until borough officials can get a better handle on the related expenses.

            He also suggested that council allow an independent entity to analyze the proposed police budget before the ordinance is approved.

            "In resigning, I hope that they would think twice about what I recommended," said Perlow, who did not attend Monday's public meeting.

            Before voting unanimously to accept Perlow's letter, council decided to delay action on an ordinance that would establish a police department. Solicitor Steven Kramer suggested that council postpone the vote on the measure, listed on the April 3 meeting agenda, to consider questions raised by Perlow.

            "I think it would be prudent to table this and think about Mr. Perlow's comments," Kramer said.  The solicitor suggested that council re-advertise the ordinance for approval at a subsequent meeting.

            Hunsinger said the borough's police committee convened an executive session on April 2 to interview potential police consultants.

            Lon Brinckman II, a candidate for council, expressed concerns that the elected officials were forgetting crucial items in the police budget they created. He cited the need for a climate-controlled evidence storage facility and specialized computers and software.

            Brinckman, during public comments, expressed support for the hiring of a consultant. "If you are going to do it, do it right," he said.

            Moran, who declared her opposition to the borough's June 1 dissolution date from the Upper Perk Police Commission, made a plea to Pennsburg officials to agree to a meeting with East Greenville officials to restart a dialogue.

            "I want to see if something can be worked out," she said. "We may be two separate towns, but this is one large community."

            Moran then made a motion to delay the borough's withdrawal date to December 31. However it failed 4-2, with Moran and Ryan Pugh casting the only affirmative votes.

            Municipal officials hope to appoint a replacement council member at the May 1 public meeting, according to Hunsinger. She said applicants have until Friday, April 28 to submit a letter of interest.






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