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West Penn Township adopts anti-nepotism ordinance

Published April 13. 2010 05:00PM

On a 2-1 vote, the West Penn Township Board of Supervisors Monday night adopted an ordinance prohibiting nepotism with the hiring or appointing of personnel.

In general, nepotism is defined as favoritism shown to relatives by those in positions of power, such as giving them jobs.

According to the West Penn ordinance, no immediate family of any elected Supervisor or of any township employee shall be eligible for township employment or appointment to any position in the township.

"Immediate family" is established as a husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, grandchild, son or daughter-in-law, brother or sister-in-law, parent-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

The ordinance also "grandfathers" the continued employment of any person who might not be in compliance at the time it was passed but applies only to those applying for employment following its passage.

Any violation of the ordinance will result in the removal of the employee or appointee.

Supervisors Chairman Alfonso Martinez and Supervisor James Akins voted in favor of the ordinance, with Vice Chairman David Zeigler opposed. Akins, who moved to adopt the ordinance, asked Zeigler if he had any problems with the ordinance prior to the vote, but Zeigler did not indicate that he did.

Fire company update

In other business, Solicitor Gretchen D. Sterns said she is still waiting to hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) regarding their assistance in helping evaluate the fire protection system.

The township is seeking DCED's help with examining whether or not its fire companies are following proper procedures. The review would be at no cost to West Penn.

The move was prompted by the suspension of the Andreas Fire Company from active duty for 90 days due to what the supervisors feel are deficiencies in the company's level of firefighting training, as well as concerns with its financial situation and bookkeeping efforts.

"It was bumped to the beginning of April for DCED approval, but they thought they could meet with the township in mid-April," said Sterns. "They should be able to meet with us by the end of the month."

The three-month suspension is set to expire May 1, but West Penn Fire Chief Leroy Breiner said the Andreas Company responded to a call last Saturday when they were not authorized to do so.

"Al (Martinez) saw the whole thing," said Breiner. 'They also interfered with police activity."

The matter was discussed by the board in executive session, but no further action was taken against the company.

Park pavilion

Edward Dudley of the West Penn Lions Club asked the board if the township planned to contribute to the construction of a new roof on the pavilion at West Penn Park.

"The discussion is about cost and who should pay for it," said Dudley. "That's where we've been butting heads. There's no definitive cost as of yet."

Dudley suggested that if the township would split 50 percent of the cost, the Lions might be able to foot the rest of the bill.

Akins questioned what the cost might be and whether or not other projects could be done at the park. "I want to do something, absolutely," he said. "It's a great park, but I want to know the cost."

"We'll look at how much we can put it," said Martinez, who asked if contractor Curtis J. Bailey could provide "a ballpark figure."

Flash drive

Under public comment, former Supervisor Randy Troxell addressed the board regarding a letter he received from Sterns asking for the return of a flash drive containing township information and materials on it.

Troxell said his wife, Jolene, who served as the township's office secretary for eight years before she was not rehired by the board this year, purchased the flash drive for $200 using her own money. She bought the drive as a back-up system, since the township's computers would crash once in a while.

Troxell asked if Jolene could be reimbursed, either with the $200 she spent or whatever the cost would be at an office supply store such as Staples.

"We have no use for it and we don't want it, but you need this to back up your computer," said Troxell. "I'm just asking for the money she paid for it."

"We'll look at it," said Martinez

Other business

*Susan Gibiser was hired as secretary for the planning commission at the rate of $11 per hour. Gibiser replaces Sabrina Miller, who resigned from the position.

*The township is looking for a resident to join the West Penn Agricultural Security Area Committee. The review process for adding farmland to the Ag Security area will also take place this year, with applications to be posted and advertised.

*The work of installing fiber optic cables through the township by InfraSource has begun. Sterns said a license agreement has been reached between InfraSource and West Penn.

*Group leader Jeremy Frable was given permission to acquire quotes for plastic pipes for Golf and Dairy Roads. Frable was also authorized to take down trees at West Penn Park at the request of park commission chairman Marlin Zehner and to deliver stone purchased by the commission to the park grounds.

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