West Penn Township Supervisors voted to extend the suspension of the Andreas Fire Company until their June meeting, at which time they will vote on an ordinance to decertify the company as an emergency responder in the township.
Supervisors unanimously voted to advertise the ordinance last night. Supervisor James Akins also made a motion to pull the workman's compensation insurance immediately, which passed unanimously, as well. The motions came after supervisors held a lengthy executive session to discuss personnel matters, litigation, and the fire company.
Members of the fire company, which has been under suspension since February, requested that the insurance be reinstated, at least for training purposes. According to several members of the audience, the company has training scheduled and can't continue without the insurance. Chairman Alfonso Martinez requested a motion reinstating the insurance for training purposes, however, neither Akins nor Supervisor David Ziegler made such a motion. "That's it then, we're done," said at least one member of the fire company.
Township solicitor Gretchen D. Sterns explained that she and Martinez had spoken with a State official regarding the matter. "The township is given significant discretion in determining what standards are appropriate for fire companies and has the right to choose which companies to recognize," she said. Sterns said the township has also been advised to form a public safety committee, which would include members from the recognized responders, the police chief, and the board of supervisors. "The public safety committee could review and consider what appropriate standards would be," she said. "Every township is different."
Sterns also advised that decertification is not necessarily a permanent condition. "Companies have often been decertified and gone through a time of making changes and improvements and months or years down the road were recertified," she said.
The board also approved a quote, in the amount of $7371.95, from Chemung Supply, of Elmira, New York, for pipes to replace those along Golf and Dairy Roads.
The board conditionally approved a change of use from commercial to residential for a property owned by Thomas W. Smith. They also gave final approval for the Lime Kiln major subdivision, based several conditions outlined by Sterns and gave final approval for the McCoy, McGinley and Kropp boundary line adjustment.
James Dunn, Brian Ruch, Ronald Troxell, Michael Warivonchik, and supervisor David Zeigler were appointed to the agricultural security area committee. Sterns said the review should be completed by the end of summer.
The board agreed to pay for 5 tons of rubber mulch, at a cost of $1650, for the West Penn Park. The Park Association will purchase an additional 12 tons.
Supervisors also noted that the West Penn elementary school will no longer be used as a voting location. Instead, those voters will go to the township building.
Township secretary Susan Gibisier has also completed her 90 day probationary period. Supervisors voted to give her a $.50/hour increase.