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Quakertown Council Reviewing Officer Hiring Procedures
Written by Jennifer Butler, Correspondent

            During its work session Monday night, Quakertown Council reviewed changes to its civil service hiring procedures to make it easier to hire police officers when vacancies arise.

            Procedures would encourage lateral hires from other police departments with discretion through a portion of the process. Borough Manager and Police Chief Scott McElree explained that, once the borough makes a conditional offer of employment, certain tests and clearances aligning with the Municipal Police Officer's Education and Training Commission's standards would make the officer's intentions known to their current employer.

            Borough Solicitor Peter Nelson noted that consistent testing and interviewing for lateral hires, with the same style and same questions, would prevent a scenario where any potential candidate would feel they were overlooked unfairly.

            Nelson will review the procedures to ensure compliance with hiring priority for veterans for adoption through resolution at an upcoming council meeting.

            Council also reviewed agenda items for their May meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 3. During that meeting, council will vote on several requests to hold events within the borough. A request from the Pennsylvania Patriot Coalition to use the Univest Performance Center in July for a Let Freedom Ring Rally prompted discussion related to general guidelines for usage of the park spaces as well as public gatherings within the borough.

            McElree explained that, according to the guidelines, organizers of park events that may present a health and safety risk must submit a security plan to the borough, including the use of Quakertown police officers if necessary. McElree explained that clear communication among organizers and evacuation in the event of an emergency are also included.

            "It's great that these groups come to the borough and express their First Amendment. That's what our constitution is all about," McElree said. "But it's got to be done reasonably and it's got to be done with safety in mind, regardless of what they represent."

            Council President Donald Rosenberger asked whether a motion to grant approval for use of the space should include compliance with borough guidelines.

            "It is not meant to be exclusionary, it is just meant to keep safety in mind," Rosenberger said.

            Nelson suggested a written policy based on the number of projected attendees to establish when safety guidelines would need to be followed.

            Other requests include a dance recital at the Univest Performance Center, the Pints for Pups 5K through the borough to benefit Last Chance Ranch, the annual Cars for a Cause car show, and McCoole's request to hold their annual Oktoberfest.

            Under public utilities committee business, council will adopt an ordinance to allow them to change local pollutant discharge limits in compliance with standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Once that ordinance is adopted, council would then be able to change discharge limits through a resolution. Council currently has EPA recommendations for discharge revisions. 

            Unused borough-owned equipment, including several vehicles, will be going up for public auction on May 12. Anyone interested in viewing the listing can contact the borough.






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