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Lansford considering limiting hours of part-time officers

Published July 12. 2012 05:01PM

Lansford borough council's Public Safety Committee will meet with Mayor Ron Hood and Police Chief John Turcmanovich to discuss a proposal to limit the number of hours part-time police officers may work.

Councilman Tommy Vadyak, who heads council's Public Safety Committee, brought up the matter, saying that two years ago, the borough hired two full-time officers to ensure coverage and to cut back on the numbers and hours of part-timers to save money.

But instead, he said, the part-time officers are working 32 to 36 hours a week.

Vadyak moved to limit the part-time officers to filling for full-timers who were out sick or on vacation. His proposal was challenged by Councilwoman Mary Kruczek, who asked solicitor Michael Greek how much control council has over police schedules.

In boroughs, the mayor sets the police schedules.

Greek said council could direct Mayor Ron Hood as to how part-time officers are used, but cannot do the actual scheduling.

Kruczek then asked Vadyak if the police budget was in the red. He said that it was not.

A vote to limit the part-time hours failed 2-7, with Vadyak and Danielle Smith in favor.

Councilwoman Samantha Yasson suggested scheduling a special meeting with the committee, Hood and Turcmanovich.

Councilman Lenny Kovach also favored that approach, saying he was concerned about a battle between Hood and council.

"We need to sit down and talk," he said.

Greek concurred. Citing a similar situation in Tamaqua, where he is also solicitor, Greek said officials met to discuss the matter and eventually agreed to reduce the part-timers' hours.

In a related matter, council president Rosemary Cannon and Kruczek took issue with Vadyak's reading aloud of Public Safety Committee minutes that included verbal exchanges among himself, Turcmanovich and Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick.

Cannon is Soberick's mother and Kruczek his wife.

Cannon admonished Vadyak, saying the report included personnel information that was confidential. Kruczek also lashed out at Vadyak, sparking an argument that escalated until Cannon rapped her gavel to end the exchange.

In other matters:

*Council received bids from three companies to install new roofing on borough buildings. The bids were tabled for review by Greek.

*Kovach will meet Friday with state Department of Environmental Protection officials and others to inspect storm damage.

*Council received one proposal for zoning/code enforcement services, from Barry Isett & Associates;

*Council heard from two residents complaining about deteriorated buildings near or adjoining their homes.

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