New hires, a promotion and a resignation of a police officer topped the agenda at last evening's Mahoning Township supervisors' meeting culminating in a 45-minute executive session to discuss personnel as well as an agreement to advertise for part time and full time police officers.
Supervisors began to discuss the process of hiring of part time officers when Chairperson John Wieczorek ended the public discussion by stating that discussing the officers' individual performances and qualifications is best suited for executive session. Upon resuming the meeting, supervisors moved to hire part time police officers Elliot Miller and Richton Penn at a rate of $15.50 per hour starting August 1st, 2010. They tabled hiring two other officers, Peter Lakkis and Joseph Krebs without comment.
It was the elevation of Tyler Meek from part time to full-time status that brought the most controversy during the three hour meeting. While there was little discussion in the open portion of the meeting, it became clear the board was split over Police Chief Kenneth Barnes recommendation to promote Meek to full-time.
Wieczorek and supervisor Linda Benner made the motion to elevate Meek to full time status and was joined by supervisor Travis Steigerwalt in promoting Meek effective August 1, 2010 at a rate of $23.59 per hour. Supervisors Frank Ruch and George Stawnyczyj opposed the motion for different reasons and were quite vocal about it.
Stawnyczyj said his opposition was due to his belief that the board could have hired at least two more part-time officers and saved on benefits for the price of one full-time officer.
Ruch's opposition was more about making sure he was the best choice. "I think we should have looked to see what was out there. If Meek was the best candidate he would rise to the top of the interview process."
In other police business, the supervisors unanimously accepted the resignation of former township police officer Marvin Mertz effective July 19, 2010 stipulating in the terms of accepting the resignation that there will be no payment for accrued benefits. The motion carried unanimously and Wieczorek directed Solicitor Tom Nanovic to draft a letter to that effect.
Mertz pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false report earlier this month and is reportedly ready to plead to other charges against him. He is due in court in August to deal with forgery charges made against him.