Coaldale Borough Council on Tuesday hired a part-time police officer - one of its own.
Councilman Andrew Girard became the borough's latest hire, to work on an as-needed basis. But to do that, he agreed to forfeit his $75 a month councilman's pay.
Solicitor Michael S. Greek told council Girard, 28, would have to give up the municipal stipend after Mayor Richard Corkery asked if Girard would be required to quit council.
"Are we in desperate need of people?" asked Councilman Joe Hnat. Keerans said yes, given that Sgt. Keith Krapf is still out on medical leave after being allegedly assaulted on March 2 by resident Ian Patrick McGregor, whom he had pulled over for erratic driving, and that other officers' vacations were coming up. Councilman Tom Keerans, who heads the Police Committee, recommended that council hire Girard, who earned his police academy certification through Lackawanna College. Council agreed to waive the borough's requirement of two years' experience.
"He's got to get his feet wet somewhere," Hnat said. "Why not start here?"
Councilman David Yelito asked if others who had applied for jobs as police officers in the borough could sue if Council hired Girard. Greek said no, because there is no civil service exam required and the job is part-time.
Council voted to hire Girard; Girard abstained from the vote.
In other police business, Keerans asked Yelito and Corkery if they had talked with McGregor's defense attorney after his hearing before District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua.
Both men denied they had spoken with the man's lawyer. Instead, Yelito said, they had talked with Coaldale Police Chief Tim Delaney. Corkery said Delaney told them that a charge of aggravated assault had been dropped, but that the other charges remained.
Yelito suggested Keerans' information came from a "third party." Keerans said no, that it had come from someone who attended the hearing. "The person was there," he said.
Delaney was not at the council meeting when the discussion among Keerans, Yelito and Corkery.
Later, Hnat asked about Krapf's medical condition. Borough secretary Louise Lill said that one of Krapf's three doctors had released him on Tuesday and that he would be seeing the other two this week.
Krapf suffered fractured ribs and an injured shoulder when he was assaulted by McGregor, 25, of 110 E. High St. Krapf had pulled McGregor over after the man almost hit Krapf's police cruiser head-on. McGregor had also drawn the attention of another officer, Charles Andrew Blesse, who arrived as Krapf stopped McGregor's car.
McGregor has since been released on bail. He faces charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, harassment, failing to drive on the right side of the highway, meeting vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction, overtaking a vehicle on the right, careless driving and failure to use restraint systems.