Boro approves new contract for police, anti-nepotism policy
Adoption of a new full-time police contract, part-time police agreement, and an anti-nepotism policy headlined the March 20 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.
Highlights of the police contract include increasing the full-time patrolman wage from $18.10 to $21.00. That was primarily accomplished by narrowing the pay gap between ranks. For example, whereas corporals made $3 more than patrolmen, they will not only make $2 more.
New hires will also start at 80 percent of what full-time patrolmen make, and will reach 100 percent after two years of service.
Borough manager Rick Hopkinson said the goal of the contract was to bring the wages of the department closer to comparable municipalities so Mt. Oliver can stay competitive in attracting and retaining talent.
Other highlights include all officers will contribute five percent towards their annual health insurance premiums. Veteran’s Day was added as a holiday.
For the part-time agreement, the only changes were removing minimum hours worked to allow for more flexibility in hiring and scheduling, and giving part-timers a couple of sick days and personal days after so many years of service.
The anti-nepotism policy is effective with any new employment as of April, 2017.
It states no person shall be hired by the borough who is related by blood or by marriage to any council member. This includes: father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson, stepdaughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
The meeting began with Mayor James Cassidy presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to both Corporal Adam J. Candioto and Patrolman Bruce B. Waldo for rescuing an elderly homeowner from a fire on Transverse Ave. on March 10.
In public hearings, new resident Ben Musial made several recommendations to council.
They include: adopting a set of rules and regulations for the meetings; differentiating between “request for public hearing” and “open forum,” with public hearings held toward the beginning of the meeting; adhering to a dress code; and establishing an attendance rule.
As for adopting rules for public meetings, council Vice-president Nick Viglione, who conducted the meeting in the absence of President Amber McGough, said council follows Robert’s Rules of Order and the Sunshine Act.
Councilwoman Barbara Keener said per the recommendation, public hearings were moved up that evening.
To Mr. Musial’s comment that side bar conversations among council members are disruptive, and violators should be asked to leave the room, Mrs. Keener said they are all guilty of that.
“It shouldn’t happen, you’re correct,” she said.
She also said agenda meetings are okay for casual dress, and council has an understanding about the dress code for regular monthly meetings.
Mr. Viglione said the police chief cannot simply remove people from meetings unless there is a physical threat. Otherwise, the borough can be sued.
Mayor Cassidy said there are state laws that govern attendance for elected officials.
When Mr. Musial asked why the public works supervisor, engineer, and other officials are not at meetings, the mayor said they attend agenda meetings as more is accomplished there. The volunteer firefighters are too busy to come by as they are often at calls, he said.
The next speaker was Frank Bernardini who said there are two vacant lots at Stamm and Walnut that need to be cleaned.
Addressing Mr. Musial’s comments to council, he told him that all council members know Robert’s Rules of Order, and follow them.
“This borough is unique. It’s no walk in the sun,” he said.
“It’s a good borough. It’s a good bunch of people,” Mr. Viglione said.
In the police report for February, the mayor reported there were 554 total calls and 20 drug-related arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.
There were also four domestic calls, one accident report, nine criminal mischief complaints, and three burglaries, the latter at Ormsby Ave. and Locust St.
The police department served 10 arrest warrants. The department conducted a traffic stop on Feb. 28 in the 1700 block of Arlington Ave. in which a firearm was seized.
The K-9 units were used nine times, including for park-and-walks, drug searches, and targeted patrols.
All public safety computers are up and running.
In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for February, there were three complaints, seven occupancy permits issued, 29 rental licenses (47 units), 13 citations issued, and 87 violation/notices sent.
Councilman David Beltz said to tell him, Mr. Knaus, or Mr. Hopkinson if you see trash, debris, and more thrown in public spaces, or other violations, like residents putting their garage by the curb on Fridays for Monday pick-up.
In other news, volunteers are sought to help with the borough’s 125th anniversary. Interested residents should call the borough offices and leave their names.
In unfinished business, council is looking to fill a vacancy for an elected auditor who resigned. Residents interested in the position should submit letters of interest to Mr. Hopkinson. The new auditor will work with a team of two other auditors on several weekends during February and March. There is a $400 annual stipend for the position.
The next council meeting will be on April 17.