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Police chief search

Published August 23. 2011 05:01PM

Lehighton Borough Council said last night it will look outside the town's police department for a new chief.

The council, by a 5-2 vote, agreed to draw up specifications for the position and advertise in publications such as borough newsletters for applicants.

Previously the council asked members of the department to submit applications for the post. Four members of the eight-man department were interviewed last week.

The council went into executive session last night and afterward made its decision.

Only council members Melissa Ebbert and Bessy Bauchspies were opposed to looking beyond the department for a chief.

The borough has been without a chief of police since March 2, 2010, when then Chief Matt Bender, a former patrolman, rejoined the force as a regular police officer.

The officer-in-charge since then has been Sgt. Joseph Lawrence.

In other matters, the council introduced its new borough treasurer, Kira Michalik of Summit Hill, who was hired to replace Nicole Beckett. Beckett last month was named the new borough manager, effective Oct. 1.

Michalik, who had been the borough secretary/treasurer in Summit Hill, will start working for Lehighton in early September. She resigned the Summit Hill position.

In other business:

• Council gave the Lehighton Lioness Club permission to stage its annual Pink Light Walk on Oct. 4.

• Attorney James Nanovic, the borough's solicitor, was authorized to draw up a new street excavation ordinance.

• James Koch of Stedman Avenue said that street excavation has caused damage to his sidewalks and curbing. The council and the borough's engineer, Bruce Steigerwalt, assured him that all damages will be repaired by the contractor. Steigerwalt said the contractor has been informed of the problems.

He said the damages occurred because the shale beneath the surface moved when the digging occurred.

• Rodney Snyder of Millway Street indicated his opposition to repairing a judging stand that had been used by the former Carbon County Fair when it was held in Lehighton. The stand is presently situated at the Community Grove. Snyder called the stand "a hazard" and "an eyesore."

• Two teenagers attended the meeting and asked that council allow the construction of a BMX park and bike park at Skyline Playground. The council referred the matter to the council's Public Works and Recreation Committee.

• A reverse subdivision requested by Joseph McConnell, who purchased two lots on North Main Lane and wants to combine them, was given approval.

• The council asked the police department to make Lehigh Drive part of its regular patrol.

A letter was received from Timothy Eckhart, chairman of the Central Carbon Municipal Authority, stating there are several issues of concern with Lehigh Drive. He said young children are playing in the street and carelessly riding their bicycles, many residents are using the street to let their dogs run without being leashed, and people are repairing their vehicles on the roadway.

Lehigh Drive runs from Main Lane to the borough's sewage treatment plant.

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