SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
June 12, 2019 – 7:00 PM
Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 7:00 pm. The following were in attendance:
- Shearer – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
- Bollinger (Chairman), D. Schmidt – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
- Miller (Vice-Chairman), S. Stambaugh (Secretary) – Manheim Twp. (MT)
- Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
- Stalcup – Sergeant, Officer In Charge (OIC)
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
PUBLIC COMMENT: L. Lehman (NCT resident) asked how much has been spent due to the NCT intent to withdraw. V. Nickell stated $2,476.50 in 2019. She does not have the figure for 2018 but estimated a total of $3,200 so far.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes May 8, 2019. Motion by R. Whyland, second by B. Hilt to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. V. Nickell informed the Board that there are two (2) officers that need to be paid out for their vacation and sick time, and there is not enough money in the Sick & Vacation Liability bank account to pay them. The amount due is $62,530 and there is $22,842 in that account. She requested direction from the Board of where to withdraw the $39,688 she is short from. L. Miller asked for the balances in the Reserve and Health Insurance Reimbursement accounts – $151,280.25 and $170,485.10 respectively. The cost of the health insurance is decreasing due to officers leaving. Motion by R. Whyland, second by S. Stambaugh to approve taking 50% from each bank account (Reserve and Health Insurance Reimbursement) to make up the $39,688 funding shortfall for sick and vacation pay outs. Motion carried unanimously.
- Schmidt asked if the expense for NCT withdrawal is a separate line item in the budget. V. Nickell replied she is tracking the legal fees separately, and she will create new accounts to track additional costs as needed. He suggested creating an account entitled “NCT Withdrawal”. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. Motion carried with one (1) Nay, R. Shearer.
Sgt. Stalcup stated there were 352 calls for service in May and 153 traffic stops. A total of 70 criminal charges were filed on 19 offenders. HT had (49) charges, with most going to one (1) offender. The officer filed a separate charge for each piece of drug paraphernalia and “baggie” in the offender’s possession. Normally they file one (1) charge per ten (10) items; he is not sure why the officer chose to do this. This was not improper, but a little unconventional. M. Bollinger asked if the offender was extremely disorderly. Sgt. Stalcup stated that, in his opinion that should not matter; the behavior is the behavior, regardless of how they treat the officer. He has not had an opportunity to speak with this officer, but ultimately it is up to the DA’s office to move forward with the charges filed as is.
Year-to-date there have been a total of 1,695 calls for service with 16 outside our jurisdiction. There have been 195 arrest charges filed so far this year. The Board did not have any questions regarding the information presented.
News Report (Attachment B): The News Report was presented by Sergeant Stalcup as attached with the following additional comments:
- Officer Brandon Nolan has resigned his position with the Department; his last day was June 11. August would have marked eleven (11) years with the Department. Officer Nolan was hired by Spring Garden Township as a Patrol Officer.
- Part-time police officers – points to consider:
- Interviews will need to be conducted.
- Pre-employment psychiatric and physical tests will be needed.
- Uniforms and equipment for each officer will need to be purchased.
- Skill and field training will be required before they can work on their own.
- Do we want experienced officers or officers that have just graduated from the Police Academy (HACC)? Once the Memorandum of Understanding is complete he will send a promotional flyer to York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster County 9-1-1 centers for e-mail distribution to each police department within their County. This is a very effective way to get the information out.
- If the Board considers hiring inexperienced officers, HACC has a class graduating at the end of June. He can forward a flyer to them and they will post it; graduates are always eager to see employment opportunities – full or part-time. If the Board wants, he can take the time to drive up and conduct a presentation to the graduating class. The Board has always hired officers that are already Act 120 certified, as there is a cost and time investment involved with non-certified candidates. There is also the risk of the candidate not graduating or working out as an employee.
- Officer Harrison – The trial was scheduled for early July, has now been pushed to September.
- Grass Mowing – There have been problems with our current provider over the years. They broke a sand mound pipe a few years ago, they acknowledged they broke it and promised to repair it for six (6) months; eventually we fixed it and forwarded the bill to them. Recently an employee’s vehicle was damaged while they were mowing. The business owner spoke with all his employees that worked that day; they all denied causing the damage. Our video monitoring did not capture it happening, the camera angle was off. Maybe they did it, maybe not. Their response to multiple requests to trim bushes and weed has been terrible. Nickell stated that they approached an officer the last time they were mowing, stating they needed to schedule trimming the bushes. They have not called to schedule. When Sgt. Stalcup tried to call them to discuss the damaged vehicle the voicemail was full, he couldn’t leave a message for several hours. They are very cumbersome to work with. M. Bollinger asked if the billing issue mentioned in a previous meeting had been addressed. V. Nickell stated she is holding payment on two (2) invoices because there is a duplicate charge on one of them and two dates listed on these invoices are only two days apart. She has notified them in writing of this issue, and the issue of being invoiced in a more timely manner, i.e., within the same year the work was performed. To-date she has not had any response. The Board requested V. Nickell e-mail the Building & Grounds Committee and ask they begin searching for a new landscaping company. V. Nickell commented we also have a sink hole that needs to be addressed, she will include this information in the e-mail. D. Schmidt asked if the Board would then approve the new company at the next Board meeting. M. Bollinger stated yes, the Building & Grounds Committee will bring a few landscapers to the building, get some quotes, and then present them to the Board for a decision. R. Shearer asked if this needs to be advertised and bid out like municipalities do. W. Tilley replied only if the contract would be over the bid threshold of $19,000; he doubts it would be that high. Anything under the bid threshold requires three (3) quotes. V. Nickell confirmed that we do not spend $19,000 annually on mowing. She will research what has been spent in the past and inform the Board at the next meeting. R. Whyland commented that landscaping and lawn mowing are two different services, they should be separate. M. Bollinger clarified the Building and Grounds Committee will take care of finding another lawn care provider; Sgt. Stalcup does not need to be involved.
Sgt. Stalcup stated his intent is to include a summary of notable incidents, any “Use of Force” incidents, high-speed pursuits and training updates each month. He thinks it is important to inform the Board and public of these occurrences.
Notable/High Profile Investigations:
- Investigation continues on the home invasion that occurred in NCT on April 15, 2019. There were aggravated injuries to two (2) victims; they were threatened with guns and a gun was fired within the residence. Stalcup presented a high stack of paperwork, indicating it was twenty (20) search warrants that have been filed to-date. Each search warrant was signed by a County judge; and they weren’t all done at one time. The officer files four (4) or five (5) at a time, as layers of the investigation are conducted. To file a search warrant the officer transports the paperwork (an application for a search warrant) to York County Court, and then waits until a Judge is available to read the search warrant/s and then sign or deny them. As each layer of the investigation reveals what needs a search warrant, the officer has to go through the entire process each time – it is extremely time-consuming. Once the officer receives the search warrants they have to be sent to the various company headquarters that have the records (i.e. FaceBook) – California, Washington, Tennessee. Once this is done you wait again for the response. When the results are received the officer has to process them; understand them and search for the items relevant to the investigation. The records can be very complicated, i.e. de-coding documents. Another complication to these particular search warrants – they had to be sealed to maintain investigative integrity. The officer must justify this need in the probable cause, an additional time-consuming step. Thus far a house in York City was searched on June 4th and on June 10th two (2) officers went to Camp Hill to interview a suspect who is incarcerated at the prison. A second interview will probably be conducted with the suspect’s attorney present.
- Sexual Assault Investigations – When Sgt./Detective Layden resigned her position she passed twelve (12) open juvenile sexual assault investigations on to Sgt. Stalcup. These investigations are very time-consuming, each one requires:
- Going to York County DA office to sit in on an interview of the victim. These interviews are scheduled Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
- Interviewing witnesses and suspects.
- Search Warrants for computers, electronic devices (phone and social media records) must be obtained.
- Evidence (blankets, clothing, rape kits) must be prepared and taken to the State Police Lab in Harrisburg and/or Hershey.
- Wait at least a month, then evidence must be picked up at the lab after processing. Nickell usually does the evidence transporting to and from the lab. Depending on her workload, it can be weeks before she can get away to do it.
- Any electronic devices need to have the data downloaded in a court defensible process – a York County Detective with specific training and equipment has to do it (a wait of 1-4 weeks); then they give the information to us on a dvd and we have to review the contents – usually tens of thousands of pictures and/or text messages have to be reviewed.
- 5/10/19 – Burglary and Theft of Motorcycle, NCT – officer caught offenders in the act, case solved.
- 5/28/19 – Two Stolen Vehicles, NCT.
- 5/31/19 – Update, Two Stolen Vehicles (located), NCT – one had minor damage, charges to be filed.
- 5/31/19 – Residence Damaged by Bullets, MT – still being investigated.
- 6/10/19 – 2019 SWRPD Community Satisfaction Survey Now Available (added to website).
Police Board Questions/Comments:
- Hilt commented that Sgt. Stalcup had told her and R. Whyland that attending the interview for the juvenile sexual assault cases takes approximately three (3) hours each time. The new mandated reporting laws have also increased the number of cases being reported. These interviews can result in an “unfounded” case dispositon, so this time-consuming process does not always result in an arrest. Sgt. Stalcup commented that sometimes you have to interview the same victim several times due to them being very young (i.e. 4-years old) and it is difficult for them to communicate what happened, thus it cannot go to court.
- Shearer stated that he thought he had heard the department is receiving one (1) juvenile sexual assault case each day, with an average of nine (9) hours spent on investigating each day. B. Hilt stated that Sgt. Stalcup had stated that when he took over for Sgt.-Detective Layden he was receiving one (1) case a day for the first week and a half. Sgt. Stalcup clarified that he received four (4) new cases in five (5) days the first week. R. Shearer stated he thought he had said we were investigating 400 cases a year. R. Whyland responded that he does not recollect ever hearing or stating that, but if the cases had continued coming in as they did in the beginning it would have been 400.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – W. Tilley reported that he has e-mailed a draft of the MOU to the Police Board and has spoken with the Police Association’s attorney, Ed Paske. There is one issue he needs to discuss during Executive Session. They are close to clearing it up; it has been difficult to communicate because Attorney Paske has been in Harrisburg attending a trial. He recommends the Board re-convene after Executive Session and authorize B. Hilt, R. Whyland and M. Bollinger to continue negotiating this one issue, and upon resolving said issue, authorize M. Bollinger and V. Nickell to sign it. This would allow the hiring of part-time officers to begin immediately. The Board can then review and accept the MOU at the next Police Board meeting, or wait if they are uncomfortable in doing that. They would then have to defer hiring part-time officers until the next Board meeting when the MOU is approved and signed. Another option is once the one item is resolved, advertise and conduct a Special Meeting to approve and sign it.
- Miller asked if it can be discussed in public yet; W. Tilley replied no, except to say that it is basically covering the terms and conditions (pay and benefits) of hiring part-time officers. The reason we need an MOU is the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) specifies the compensation (salary and benefits) for full-time officers only. R. Shearer asked what the length of the MOU is. W. Tilley explained there are two (2) ways to measure it – one is a maximum of twelve (12) months from the date it is signed, or (2) until specified events occur. Some paragraphs apply only when there is an OIC and will expire when an interim or permanent Chief is appointed. There are other provisions that take effect when the department is staffed at eleven (11) full-time officers. None of the provisions extend past twelve (12) months. R. Shearer asked how this would affect the budget after twelve (12) months. W. Tilley replied that the budget is a separate issue and you will need to estimate what the staffing costs will be. L. Miller clarified R. Shearer’s point being how do you make a budget for 2020 when staffing is going to change completely in the middle of the year. W. Tilley stated that you can still project what your staffing will be and the costs on that basis. B. Hilt stated that the goal is to get to eleven (11)full-time officers. W. Tilley stated we will be incurring costs for the part-time officers, so there won’t be a huge gap in costs when we get up to eleven (11) full-time officers. M. Bollinger stated that the budget would include the cost of eleven (11) officers, even though we are at nine (9) now. R. Whyland stated we would just be over-budgeting with the budget presented in March; but we would have the foundation for an eleven-officer police force. R. Shearer stated that he is still confused; he thought the budget presented in March had part-time officers in it. B. Hilt stated that the MOU is needed in order to keep the Department going. Another officer is getting ready to resign, and that will put us down to eight (8) officers working, we will not be able to function if another officers leaves or would get injured. R. Shearer replied that he understands that, but he thought we would need part-time officers when staffed at eleven (11). B. Hilt replied that originally the reason to go down to eleven (11) was to decrease costs, and with all that has transpired the last two (2) months there isn’t any choice but to hire part-time officers now. M. Bollinger stated that we cannot hire full-time officers to get up to eleven (11); so in the interim we need to get part-time officers. R. Shearer asked if we go back to the original CBA when the MOU expires. W. Tilley replied yes, when the MOU expires it contemplates there will be eleven (11) full-time officers. R. Shearer stated we can’t have 11.5- hour shifts if we have eleven (11) officers. Sgt. Stalcup stated he didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t. R. Shearer asked why we are going to 12-hour shifts now if we have eleven (11) officers? R. Whyland replied that we do not have eleven (11) officers; we have no idea how to staff the department because we don’t know what NCT is doing. We have to go to 12-hour shifts and use part-time officers until we know what our staffing needs are. R. Shearer stated that if this MOU is just a “patch”, then we’re nowhere. If we go back to eleven (11) officers, we can go back to the CBA we are under now? W. Tilley replied yes, the existing CBA will be in effect with the MOU expires. It is his understanding that when the department is staffed at eleven (11) officers the 11.5-hour schedule will work. Sgt. Stalcup stated the reason for going to a 12-hour shift is because when we are down to eight (8) officers, there is a two-hour gap that needs to be filled with overtime; the 12-hour shift eliminates the gap. R. Shearer stated that the budget for 2020 with eleven (11) officers is with 12-hour shifts and the Chief filling in from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. From 6:00 am to 8:00 am there would only be one (1) officer on duty; this is how he remembers it. R. Whyland stated there were about four (4) proposals on the table and R. Shearer is mixing them all together. L. Miller disagreed; he stated there was one (eleven officer proposal) where the Chief was going to work two (2) hours a day. R. Shearer asked if anyone has a copy of the schedule proposal; nobody had a copy.
- Bollinger recognized M. Muir (MT Supervisor and resident) in the audience. He asked for clarification of what the provisions are if an interim Chief is hired. W. Tilley replied that certain provisions end when and interim or permanent Chief is hired. M. Muir stated that in observing the Police Board over the years, they seem to just keep kicking issues down the road and nothing is ever resolved. Just name Sgt. Stalcup Chief now, what will be different in a year? Instead of the MOU, just open the contract and change whatever needs to be changed. M. Bollinger replied that he agrees, but it costs money to renegotiate the CBA, the MOU can be extended if necessary. M. Muir stated they need to stop kicking the can down the road and just get it done. M. Bollinger stated he doesn’t think we have the finances to fight that fight right now. The best time to negotiate is when the contract is up; last year the Police Board approved a CBA. M. Muir stated that his understanding is that the whole contract doesn’t need to be re-negotiated, just the part-time officers. Sgt. Stalcup stated that using the MOU is prudent. M. Muir may not be aware, but the CBA excludes the Chief from filling shifts, so if the Police Board makes him or another officer the acting Chief, they will not be able to fill shifts. M. Muir replied that is one of the things they could change if they open up the CBA. It is his understanding that the officers really want this to move forward. The budget hasn’t been approved in two (2) years, it’s time to stop wasting time and move forward.
- Bollinger stated there are many different aspects coming at the Police Board; right now they are moving forward with NCT leaving. If NCT is leaving (and they haven’t said otherwise), then to make any changes to the CBA we would have to possibly do it twice. When the Separation Agreement is completed we can move on to the next step. It is his understanding that we can extend the MOU up to an additional six (6) months, if needed. There’s a barrier right now between all parties. M. Muir replied that there is a barrier at the Township level also, not knowing what their budgets are going to be. It’s time for this to either move forward or not. The constant not knowing what is going on is frustrating at a Township level. What’s it look like if NCT leaves? MT has been asking this question since September. At the last MT meeting Sgt. Stalcup said he’ll have that budget when he can, he didn’t make any promises, which was appreciated. Everyone is frustrated with kicking the can down the road; if we are going to open the CBA, let’s do it and get it done.
- Tilley replied that the Police Board does not have any choice; opening the CBA is something the Officers’ Association has to agree to, we do not have the right to open the CBA. The MOU is what the Offices’ Association has agreed to. We have to abide by the law (PA Labor Relations Act). M. Muir stated he can feel the pain of having to abide by the law, but at some point if the Township Supervisors are expected to make changes then the officers need to have some give and take also. R. Whyland stated that the Police Board doesn’t disagree; we were promised by June 1st we would know the answer about NCT withdrawing from the Department. His intention was to work diligently to give the answers he is looking for, but we still don’t know what NCT is doing. M. Muir stated that they should assume that they know the answer, he doesn’t think anything changes. R. Whyland stated they have done that, but at this point it is not a fact. R. Shearer stated they did not say there would be an answer by June 1st, they said “June”. They have been waiting for the changes in the MOU, but if it expires in twelve (12) months, we are back to where we were. R. Whyland asked what going back to the CBA has to do with the costs of the Department? R. Shearer replied that the 2020 budget proposal they gave in March included the schedule previously discussed. R. Whyland stated that the schedule was not created by him or B. Hilt, he has not seen it. M. Bollinger stated that the budget they were working on (that changed multiple times) was an idea that took the Department down to eleven (11) full-time officers. The Budget Committee (elected officials on the Police Board) still needs to look at the budget in July. The outcome of their fine-tuning will be the official budget proposal. Until the Budget Committee decides how they want to wrap up the 2020 budget and bring it back to the Police Board, there isn’t an official budget proposal. W. Tilley stated that his understanding of the budget discussed in March was for eleven (11) full-time officers for the entire year; but the costs will be lower if part of the year there are part-time officers filling in until more full-time officers can be hired. R. Shearer stated that once the MOU expires you aren’t at eleven (11) officers. W. Tilley stated that the goal of the MOU is to get a Chief appointed and eleven (11) full-time officers within a 12-month period. The 2020 budget assumes there will be eleven (11) full-time officers for the year, but you will have until June or July to get there. That is the plan – you may not have the budget down to the penny, but you do have numbers to work with. R. Shearer asked what that budget number is – what budget is he talking about? M. Bollinger stated that what B. Hilt and R. Whyland basically did was answer the question, “how do we save money?”. The answer was by going to eleven (11) officers if NCT stays, reducing hours and changing health insurance plans. Those were the ideas of saving money. The part-time officers are only to help get us through until we can get back up to eleven (11) officers. R. Whyland stated that they had the assurance from the Police Association that when we get to ten (10) months and still are not up to eleven (11) officers, they would extend it. He is now nervous about the Police Association following through on that promise; he needs to ask that question. S. Stambaugh asked what it takes to enact the 11-officer force, can we get it done? M. Bollinger stated that if NCT says they are going to stay and the Department has some stability, we will be able to hire full-time officers and get the force up to eleven (11). He then asked if we are obligated to get the force up to fourteen (14) when the MOU expires. M. Bollinger replied no; at that point we will go to an eight (8) officer department, if NCT goes through with the withdrawal. R. Shearer asked what the budget figure is. R. Whyland replied it’s the number they were given in March, and it was stated in last month’s Police Board meeting; it is in the minutes. T. Zeigler (NCT resident) stated it is listed on the front page of the NCT Newsletter.
- King (HT resident) asked if two (2) part-time officers can be used to fill one (1) full-time position; hire enough part-time officer to get the force up to eleven (11) full-time positions. W. Tilley replied the MOU allows two (2) part-time officers to fill one (1) 12-hour shift, the same as one (1) full-time officer would. It doesn’t allow the hiring of two (2) part-time to equal a full-time officer. The goal of the part-time officers is to fill in the gaps when the full-time officers are not available to work. The goal is to have eleven (11) full-time officers at the end of the 12-month period. P. King stated the use of part-time officers gives the Department the flexibility needed, depending on what NCT does. That way you haven’t hired several full-time officers you end up not needing and can use the part-time officers as needed. W. Tilley stated that is correct, and the MOU extends past January 1st so at that point we will know if NCT is in or out and can staff the Department accordingly. The purpose of the MOU is to get us through the transition period until we know what we’re doing. L. Miller asked if the part-time officers go away when the MOU expires. W. Tilley replied “yes”. M. Bollinger stated that there is the possibility that some of the part-time officers could be hired as full-time officers; it would save the cost and time of starting with a new officer from scratch. M. Muir stated that he thought the part-time officers were going to be kept in order to give the flexibility of covering overtime shifts. W. Tilley replied that the Police Association did not agree to that, although it was in the original proposal. M. Muir stated this does not sound like an Association that wants to do everything they can to save the Department. W. Tilley stated that may be, but the CBA and State law does not permit the Police Board to open the contract for negotiations. M. Muir asked when is the earliest the contract can be opened. In 3-1/2 years, when the present CBA is up. The Association can begin negotiating earlier, but they have to be the ones to do it. Agreeing to the MOU is a start; B. Hilt and R. Whyland have worked hard to accomplish this. M. Muir stated he is not faulting the negotiations, it just seems that the Police Board is the ones that keep giving, and the officers aren’t.
- Bollinger stated another item has come up; Southern Regional Police Department has reached out and wants to discuss merging our departments together. He would like to form a committee to begin talking to Southern Regional. Merging the departments could possibly cause the negotiating of a new CBA. B. Hilt addressed why the Police Association is against keeping part-time officers; they don’t stay so you are then in a position of constantly training new officers. This takes a lot of time, and is a constant cost to the Police Board to continually be outfitting new officers. M. Bollinger stated that Sgt. Stalcup has told him he is having difficulty in finding other police departments that have part-time officers. Part-timers are very short-lived, unless it is somebody who has retired from another department. The risk in hiring retirees is they are burned-out and grouchy. Sgt. Stalcup stated there is some truth in that, but there are some young people that come out of the academy willing to work part-time positions as a stepping stone to full-time positions. York County does not have a part-time police officer culture; Southern Regional is pretty exclusive in the fact that they have one (1) part-time officer who’s been there about twenty (20) years. He is the Chief of Codorus State Park. Adams County utilizes part-time officers more, but have fallen away from it also. Gettysburg had thirteen (13) part-time officers at one time, they now have four (4). Part-time positions tend to become a revolving door. The process of seeking candidates, interviewing them, the uncertainty of whether they will stay, the investment of equipment and training, all makes him question the value of maintaining a part-time contingent. It looks good because of the reduction in salary and benefit costs, but how much are you pulling away from the administrative staff and the officers to train them? There is also the heightened liability of using part-time officer. If you do utilize part-time officers, you need to have them on a regimented schedule. If they are not here on a regular basis (each week) they are not going to be up-to-date on policies or things that have been happening within the department. This causes extra work for the officer working with them, as you feel you have to hold their hand all night. If you go to part-time you need to make the officers a part of the culture of the department so they are fluent with the policies; they know the officers and the area. There is a trust factor – officers trust each other with their life – this kind of trust takes time to build. L. Miller stated that is exactly what he and the MT supervisors have in mind. They don’t want someone you just throw in when you need them, it needs to be someone who is a regular employee and built into the schedule. Then they will stay and become an asset to the department. M. Muir stated that the 55-year-old retiree who isn’t ready to sit at home and watch the grass grow is the perfect candidate. That type of person is more likely to stay and work for several years. Sgt. Stalcup stated that all sounds good, this is the time to do it – we are down to eight (8) or nine (9) officers. The concern is that we become a department of part-time officers – nobody wants that. It’s all about how we utilize part-time. W. Tilley stated it is very complicated; it sounds great to say we are going to take a retired police officer and bring them in and let them contribute. But, the pension law says that if they are collecting their pension they have to be retired as a police officer. The question is, can you get around that pension law language. There is a lot to work through – the Board needs to realize the number of needles that need to be threaded in order to accomplish this. We have Act 111, Act 120, the CBA, State labor laws and pension laws that we need to abide by. Also we are trying to make this as predictable as possible and trying to project a budget with the staffing needed to provide the service needed to the community. D. Schmidt stated that if we can cultivate part-time officers, they could then become full-time officers. During the hiring process we should be looking for that motivated person who would want to work here full-time. He has been listening to the Police Board since January, and has come to realize that things are never linear. There are always many items to address in order to get things done, and it takes time. He has heard so many times “this can’t happen until this legality is addressed; that can’t happen until they make a decision,” etc. He gets the sense that things are moving along pretty well, could they move faster – probably, but things are moving as fast as they can under the circumstances. R. Whyland stated the complications in getting the MOU done has been astounding. They started with one (1) page, and now are up to three (3). It is because of the complexities of the laws of the Commonwealth of PA.
- Shearer asked if West York has part-time officers – he thought they had about fifteen (15). Sgt. Stalcup stated they used to, but he doesn’t think they have any at all now. He will look into it and find out if they are still using them.
- Lehman, NCT resident, stated he is hearing a lot of good ideas tonight, but nothing is going to get accomplished until the turmoil created by NCT is resolved. You’re not going to be able to hire full or part-time officers while this is going on. The voters of NCT resolved this issue, but apparently the NCT Board didn’t get the memo yet. R. Shearer replied, no, they didn’t. L. Lehman stated that the results of the survey and the election sent a message of what the residents want. R. Shearer stated he is trying to understand – this department can cover shifts with eight (8) officers? Yes, if it’s just HT, MT and SGB. He stated that he was told it would take eleven (11). M. Bollinger explained that the eleven (11) officer department gives NCT 190 hours a week. Northern Regional’s proposal of 170 hours gives you half as many officers in NCT than what they receive now. Right now they get 0.8 officers per 1,000 residents, with Northern Regional they will get 0.4 officers. Northern Regional put out a bulletin last week – they are hiring patrol officers, they will make $96,000 a year; at the end of this CBA our officers will be making $82,000 (year 2022). It now takes an officer seven (7) years to get to 100% of the base salary, as opposed to five (5) years in the previous CBA’s. Northern cut the price down because they cut the hours way down. There won’t be any proactive policing – they’ll roll in and roll right back out. R. Shearer disagreed – they aren’t doing that in Jackson Township. M. Bollinger stated there’s a difference; they have the school district. M. Bollinger asked if the time counting and calls for service are tracked separately for the school; R. Shearer replied that it is tracked separately.
- Shearer stated he was told this Department needs eleven (11) full-time officers, whether it’s three (3) municipalities or four (4). M. Bollinger replied that we are functioning now with eight (8) officers; there’s a lot of overtime involved. Sgt. Stalcup stated that we will cover the shifts with eight (8) officers because if we are down to three (3) municipalities we will only have one (1) officer working per shift.
Building Agreement – Appraisal: W. Tilley reported he received an e-mail from the NCT solicitor asking who the Police Board wants the appraiser (Mid Atlantic Valuations) to contact to get information about the building for the appraisal. The consensus of the Board was to have them contact V. Nickell. The Police Board still needs to get an appraisal done; B. Hilt stated the SGB manager will e-mail the name of the appraiser they used recently. M. Muir suggested Rory Hertzog in Hanover, a lot of the banks use him for appraisals. Motion by R. Whyland, second by L. Miller to authorize D. Schmidt to interview appraisers and bring price proposals back to the Police Board at the next Board Meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
2020 Budget Proposal: V. Nickell reported that the Budget Committee (comprised of the elected officials) needs to set up a budget meeting. L. Miller stated that he is resigning from the Police Board and next month a different MT Supervisor will be assigned to the Police Board. Serving fourteen (14) years is long enough for him. The Police Board and audience expressed their appreciation for his service. The Police Board will need to vote for a new Vice-Chairman once the new MT member is seated. M. Bollinger will not be able to attend the next Police Board meeting, S. Stambaugh will have to run the July 10th meeting. J. Rebert asked if the budget meeting is a public meeting. W. Tilley explained that the budget meeting is a workshop and not a public meeting. There isn’t a quorum, so no action can be taken. If the public were to show up, and the Committee agrees, they can then sit in on the workshop. The workshop was set for Monday, July 1 at 6:00 pm. L. Miller stated he will inform the new MT representative.
Health Insurance: The Police Board needs to make a formal motion if they want to go through with the letter to withdraw from the current health insurance provider, Benecon. V. Nickell informed the Board they have until November to renege the decision to withdraw; if the 2020 quote from Glatfelter doesn’t suit they can change their mind. R. Whyland asked if we will have the 2020 quotes by the October meeting. V. Nickell was hopeful. Motion by L. Miller, second by S. Stambaugh to notify Benecon that Southwestern Regional Police is withdrawing effective January 1, 2020. R. Whyland asked who should sign the letter; L. Miller thinks it should be the Police Board Secretary, S. Stambaugh. V. Nickell stated she would research the Plan Agreement to see if it specifies who it should be.
Separation Agreement (SA): W. Tilley stated that at last month’s Police Board Meeting he was authorized to contact the NCT solicitor about the SA. He e-mailed the approved SA draft to their solicitor and explained that we would be meeting tonight and would appreciate a response so we could move forward. He has not received any response. He called him this afternoon and left a voicemail reminding him that the Police Board was meeting tonight, could he give us some guidance. He received an e-mail from him at 6:00 pm acknowledging he had received the draft but needs to discuss it with the NCT Supervisors. When was the draft e-mailed? May 9th. R. Shearer stated NCT has not discussed it as a Board, they are waiting to see if there is any resolution with the MOU. J. Rebert, NCT resident, stated that NCT hired an attorney at $250 an hour to review the SA.
- Tilley read the e-mail he sent to the NCT solicitor (Andy Miller) on May 9th as follows:
“At its meeting last night the Board asked me to contact you to open discussions about the proposed withdrawal agreement. I presented the agreement, which is attached to this e-mail, to the Board last month. The Board members agreed that they would take this agreement to their respective municipalities for comment. SGB and HT have approved the agreement. MT did not take official action but Larry Miller, a Board member, indicated their solicitor approved the agreement and he expects their board to approve it officially at some point. Because the Board did not receive any response from NCT, I was asked to contact you as the solicitor to obtain a response to the proposed agreement.”
He then explained his four (4) goals to Solicitor Miller as follows:
- Get an agreement early to reduce the tension among the municipalities.
- Create a predictable financial consequence for the withdrawal so that the Department and each of the municipalities can have the financial information they need to develop their budgets and plan for the withdrawal.
- Keep the transition as seamless as possible – for example, spread the withdrawal costs over the 2020 calendar year, just as they would be paid if they were still a member.
- Keep it flexible and provide for subsequent agreements that allow us to resolve issues now that can be resolved while deferring the discussion of other matters to a later date when we have more complete information. For example, we can establish the on-going costs for 2020’s budget process while deferring until the end of the year the reimbursement component for the costs of the withdrawal (i.e. legal costs).
He then asks him to review the agreement and provide any comments in an effort to reach an amicable resolution of the issues associated with NCT’s withdrawal from the Department. He also asked him to share his analysis and any documents relevant to the analysis of his calculation of the withdrawal costs, because we don’t have any information on NCT’s calculation of what the withdrawal costs would be. Thus far, Solicitor Miller has not shared any information with W. Tilley.
- Whyland asked W. Tilley to share the correspondence of May 21st. W. Tilley explained that in order to calculate the withdrawal costs, there are Exhibits attached to the Articles of Agreement showing what each municipality contributed to the start-up costs of the Department. These start-up costs are to be used in the calculation of the penalty if they withdrew, less the depreciation on whatever it was that was purchased with that money. On May 21st Solicitor Miller wrote to W. Tilley and asked him for the Exhibits to the Articles of Agreement because he did not have them to do the calculation. Later that day W. Tilley e-mailed the Exhibits to him. That was the only response he received prior to 6:00 pm this evening.
W.Tilley suggested that the Police Board wait to see if there is a response from Solicitor Miller before they take any action on the SA. If they do not receive a response by next month, the Police Board should look at some alternatives, you can’t let it go on forever. The alternative that he has explored briefly is something called a “Declaratory Judgement Action”. That’s like a lawsuit – it takes the contract to the Court and asks them to tell the parties what their obligations are. In particular, we would ask the Court to tell NCT by Court Order what their obligations are according to the contract with respect to withdrawal. We would then force the calculation to occur. The reason we need to do it soon is because if you’re going to get a Court Order it takes some time to process; you have to file it and then you have to wait for NCT to respond to the filing and then it has to be submitted to the Court (a judge) for a decision. The reason he started the SA early; getting it to the Police Board in March, was because he would really like to avoid this, he would much rather come to an agreement. A lawsuit would be expensive and contentious; it needs to be avoided. If we don’t get a response, the Police Board needs to do something in order to get the ball rolling. R. Shearer assured W. Tilley he would have a response before the next Police Board meeting. J. Rebert asked if the calculation will include how much it has cost the Department for NCT to withdraw. W. Tilley replied it would be a calculation of the operating expenses, it would not include the on-going legal, appraisal and accounting fees that will be accruing through the end of the year.
- Bollinger stated that he would like to get a committee together to start talking with Southern Regional Police (SRPD) about merging. L. Miller stated he thinks you should wait until July to do this; we need to know for sure what NCT is doing and allow the new MT Supervisor on the Police Board an opportunity to discuss it. B. Hilt stated she would like to know where SRPD is coming from. D. Schmidt said it would be worthwhile to find out what they are thinking. Not to commit to anything, just see where they’re at so we can at least have that information while it’s fresh on their minds. He doesn’t see any problem with fact-finding. M. Bollinger stated that no matter what officially happens with NCT, merging together would ultimately be something everyone should be thinking about. We’ve been trying to merge and/or have other municipalities join the Department for quite awhile. Motion by R.Whyland, second by L. Miller to appoint B. Hilt and D. Schmidt to a committee to speak with SRPD about merging. M. Bollinger stated that if the new MT representative wants to join in they would be more than welcome. Motion carried unanimously.
- Miller stated that last month M. Bollinger stated that R. Shearer should bring any requests for information to the Police Board. This was not voted on and he is tired of decisions being made on an individual level instead of the Police Board voting. M. Bollinger stated that L. Miller should have said something at the time; he responded he was too angry and didn’t want to say anything he would regret. M. Bollinger stated that the regular business of the Department is not being completed and the rest of the Police Board isn’t getting what they pay for because so much time is dedicated to these special projects. He has concerns of V. Nickell being too stressed out; there isn’t enough time to get regular things done, and all the extra projects are becoming overwhelming. All V. Nickell is doing is working to fulfill NCT requests. R. Shearer asked what he requested that she has been putting all of her time on. He made a request about time tracking; that’s the only request he has made. M. Bollinger stated there were e-mail requests from the NCT manager, he is responding to what appears to be a lot of requests. L. Miller stated, “Who are you? You are not the Board.”. M. Bollinger responded he is the Chairman of this Board, and he can state his opinion as much as anyone else can. This subject was discussed last month, and if L. Miller had a problem with it he should have spoken up then. He is bringing his concerns now, which is great, but he (M. Bollinger) still thinks requests for information should come to the Board. L. Miller asked if any requests from anybody or just from R. Shearer. M. Bollinger responded – requests in regard to NCT withdrawing should be brought to the Board. R. Shearer stated the request had nothing to do with the separation, it was about time tracking. He doesn’t understand how the Department is supplying all the time to the municipalities with the number of officers we have. The Chief had told him there were many times we didn’t fulfill the time obligation in the past seventeen (17) years. Yet when you look at the time tracking, it’s right on the money every month. In 2016 or 2017 we were down four (4) officers. M. Bollinger stated he was not aware of the time tracking request; he is aware of multiple e-mails over the past six (6) months. V. Nickell confirmed that there have been a lot of e-mails and requests. The time-tracking request was put on the back-burner per instruction from the Chief. The reason the time tracking always comes out “on the money” is because the time an officer is absent is charged to “Admin” time; this has been done since the time we began counting time. R. Shearer stated that if an officer isn’t on the payroll their time shouldn’t be counted. V. Nickell stated that if the officer is still an employee she has to count them. M. Bollinger suggested R. Shearer come in and sit down with Sgt. Stalcup and discuss his concerns. This Board needs to start working together. Blame him for this, but in January they had an opportunity to elect a new Chairman, but nobody else wanted to do it. The request to have requests for information to be made in public session was a reasonable request. L. Miller stated it wasn’t a request, M. Bollinger instructed him to bring it to the Board. D. Schmidt stated that he has observed a lot going on over the past six (6) months. NCT’s intent to withdraw, Chief Bean leaving, most of it flows through V. Nickell. His understanding is that with all the things she has to keep up on it was becoming overwhelming. It seemed reasonable to him to say “bring the requests to the Board”. That way requests can be staggered and V. Nickell will be able to get her business done. M. Bollinger stated that he made the request, and if the Board doesn’t like it they can refute it now. He believes the public wants to hear what the requests are. R. Shearer said this should apply to the entire Board, not just him.
- Miller agreed and stated he requested the same thing from V. Nickell regarding the time counting because there was a question at the MT Board. He asked her how many hours an officer was actually in MT since the beginning of the year. The response he got was that she only had tracking through May 10th (understandable); which was nineteen (19) weeks. She took the nineteen (19) weeks multiplied by the 85.351494 hours they are paying for each week which comes to 1,621.67 hours. He asked how many hours were spent in MT – the response was: patrol time 906.5 hours; investigative time 430.68 hours; admin time 284.5. Strangely enough that adds up to 1,621.68 hours. That’s not what he asked for; he asked how many hours an officer was actually in MT. V. Nickell stated she must have misunderstood the request, the patrol time is the actual time the officers are in their township (906.5 hours). The investigative time can take place within the township, at the court, in the office. The admin time is to account for the officers that are not working, on vacation, etc. The patrol and investigative time combined is the time an officer was actually working for MT (1,337.18 hours).
- Bollinger asked if the Board wants to change anything regarding the flow of information. L. Miller said it should be rescinded unless it applies to everyone on the Board. D. Schmidt stated that he thinks information requests that go to V. Nickell need to have a reasonable timeline. Depending on what’s going on it could takes two (2) – three (3) weeks to get the information. There needs to be some discretion when requests go to her. M. Bollinger stated he thinks all information requests should come through the Board. L. Miller stated he thinks it was very seldom that there was a timeline given for the information requests; it was up to her time availability and schedule. Also, if requests have to come through the Board, you are slowing everything down by pushing it back another month. The person has to wait a month to get the information, and then they have to wait another month to use it, so you’re delaying things two (2) months. M. Bollinger suggested requests be presented to the Board through e-mail instead of waiting for a Board meeting. That way it’s not delayed and everyone is aware of what requests have been made. M. Muir stated that then the public isn’t aware. With no intention to disparage M. Bollinger; this situation goes back to when Paul Keiser was the Chairman; he was also on the Police Board at that time. He cannot tell you how many decisions were made between the Chief and Paul Keiser that the Township never heard. M. Bollinger asked what decisions is he making? M. Muir answered he isn’t disparaging him, the point he thinks L. Miller is trying to make is decisions are made between a couple Board members instead of the entire Board. That is the root of this problem. M. Bollinger stated that a month ago R. Shearer stood in front of the television camera and said “They better get moving because we’re running out of time and we need something fast.”. In response four (4) Board members got together and formed a response; in the midst of that they decided we need to get some stability and direction. Half this Board, even though it’s not a quorum, feels that way. If the other half of the Board doesn’t feel that way, that’s fine. M. Muir asked how the Board could make a decision without a quorum. M. Bollinger replied it was four (4) people getting together and saying, “something needs to happen here.”. M. Muir asked how can you say you didn’t make a decision when you came up with a decision that one (1) member of the Board cannot ask V. Nickell for information, while L. Miller can call her and that’s ok. M. Bollinger replied that this month it’s been clarified, that it’s not ok.
- Bollinger recognized T. Zeigler, NCT resident. He stated this is the most ridiculous thing to be arguing about. There were comments back and forth between T. Zeigler and M. Muir; order was called. T. Zeigler continued – if a Board member is opposed to something they should speak up at the time; if nothing is said you can only assume they are ok with it. There are much bigger issues to address than a statement that the Chairman made last month that nobody objected to at the time it was made. M. Bollinger replied that this is the instability of this Police Department. It starts at the very top and rolls all the way down to the officers; it is why we are having so much trouble gaining any momentum to do anything. The officers do not trust this Board – he wouldn’t either. He doesn’t know how to fix it. M. Muir stated he did not accuse him of doing things; he said he doesn’t want to go back to those days; he’s sorry if it came across the other way, it isn’t what he meant. What he meant was back then a lot of decisions were made and then after the decisions were made it was brought to the Police Board. That’s what’s unacceptable to the Townships; he is not saying M. Bollinger is doing that, he is saying that is not what we want to get to. J. Rebert stated that was then, this is now. He stated that he had told R. Shearer he deserves to get that information and if he can’t get it he needs to ask W. Tilley for it. NCT pays 48% of the budget and they deserve to have that amount of time. M. Bollinger agreed; it wasn’t intended to limit the information they get, it was meant to keep everyone up to date by bringing it through the Board. He has heard many times that everything should come through this Board, and that should come through the Board as well. Apparently we can pick and choose what comes through the Board. D. Schmidt stated that his understanding was it was meant to control the flow of information, not limit it. The Board has a mission – it’s got to move on, like a lot of the great comments he hears from the people that attend the meetings. There are checks and balances; we need to hear the opinions but at some point in time we have to say we heard it and we need to move on. Every month there is a lot of important business that has to get done here.
- Whyland stated that he and B. Hilt have been conducting exit interviews with each officer that has resigned their position with the Department. They have gone very well, B. Hilt is very good at doing this. Some interesting things have come forward, and once they are done and have their notes made they will present the results to the Board.
Sgt. Stalcup requested clarification of something regarding requests for information. At the MT meeting last month there was a request that the 2020 budget numbers without NCT be presented to MT. He doesn’t know the protocol; he had replied to MT that maybe L. Miller (who wasn’t in attendance at said meeting) could make a motion requesting this. L. Miller stated this is a very good point and made a motion that the Police Board instruct the Personnel Committee to assemble a budget of what it looks like with three (3) municipalities; motion was seconded by R. Whyland. Motion passed unanimously. L. Miller then stated he is not sure who will actually be doing it – V. Nickell raised her hand. She then stated that the Board needs to be aware that she has twelve (12) weeks of vacation on the books because she hasn’t been able to take a vacation in three (3) years. W. Tilley stated the budget would be made by the Budget Committee – V. Nickell replied the Budget Committee gets the budget information from her. R. Whyland stated that V. Nickell is the Budget Committee.
- Zeigler was recognized by M. Bollinger. He stated that it is his understanding that the purpose of the MOU is to allow the use of part-time officers. The department is at a critical point and is in need of part-time officers in order to continue, and he hopes the Board doesn’t lose focus of that. He doesn’t think the public should attend any budget meetings – it is not an advertised public meeting, there isn’t a quorum. In his opinion if anyone from the public shows up the Committee should turn them away. He thanked L. Miller for his fourteen (14) years of service. Mr. Zeigler was here until 2007, and it appears that time has stood still since then. He understands there are a lot of challenges right now and he appreciates everything the Police Board is doing. Lastly, he apologized for speaking out of turn when he replied to R. Shearer asking what the 11-officer budget looked like.
The Board recessed into Executive Session at 9:15 pm to discuss the personnel mattetrs with action expected upon reconvening.
Board reconvened into Public Session at 10:40 pm. Motion by S. Stambaugh, second by B. Hilt to authorize V. Nickell to instruct The Standard to proceed with the actuarial study for the early retirement of two (2) officers. Motion carried unanimously.
- Shearer asked why the time counting can’t be done without including the time of the officers that have resigned. V. Nickell replied that the budget is based on that time; it needs to match the budget. Admin time is used to account for vacation, training, hearings; any time an officer isn’t actually filling a shift. B. Hilt stated that the time is being paid for, so it needs to be counted. R. Shearer stated that he is being misunderstood – what he’s saying is if the budget is built around fourteen (14) officers and you are down to ten (10), there’s no way you are coming up with 523 hours a week; it should be 400 hours. The extra hours aren’t admin time because it isn’t being paid out to anybody. W. Tilley asked if the time is being made up by having officers work overtime. V. Nickell replied there are still two (2) officers working each shift but there is no longer a cover shift. R. Shearer stated that he doesn’t have any problem with counting admin time of officers that still work here, just the ones that are no longer actually working and being paid. Sgt. Stalcup asked for clarification for the time of Officer Harrison, as he is still an employee. Due to the fact he is not receiving a paycheck, the consensus of the Board was not to count his time. L. Miller stated that MT wants to know how many hours they are actually getting; everything is working fine and they want to know how many hours that takes. After further discussion the Police Board requested the time counting be recalculated back to the beginning of the year without counting the officers that have resigned or are not being paid. R. Whyland stated that the reason the time for officers no longer working was being counted was because it ties back to the budget; it is how we calculate the hourly rate. M. Bollinger stated that the hourly rate should then be calculated on the “new budget”; what is actually being spent.
- Hilt asked if we are able to hire full-time officers to get the force back up to eleven (11), even though we are going to hire part-time. M. Bollinger answered no, with NCT on their way out, anyone you hire would only work until the end of the year. L. Miller asked how many officers we have now. Sgt. Stalcup replied there are nine (9) working and one (1) on administrative leave (unpaid). Officer Matthews is expecting to resign by July 1st, which will put the force down to eight (8) officers working. L. Miller stated that if two (2) officers take the early retirement you could hire two (2) full-time officers to replace them.
Sgt. Stalcup stated his number one goal is for NCT to rescind the Letter to Withdraw; his number two goal is for good press to come out of the Police Board. It is difficult to sell the department to perspective employees. B. Hilt commented that it may be better to hire officers that have just graduated from the academy; they would probably take a full-time position even if it were only for a year. Sgt. Stalcup stated that this is the direction he needs from the Board; he also is in favor of part-time officers becoming full-time officers when the time comes to fill full-time positions – “I get to date you before I marry you”. Also, the Board needs to decide if they want an officer with no experience. M. Bollinger replied yes, if they are an outstanding graduate. Sgt. Stalcup stated that hiring is always a crap-shoot; it is difficult to find the right person. Having someone work with us part-time for six (6) months gives him a chance to see if they are a good officer, it’s much better than hiring cold. L. Miller asked if it is possible to hire a part-time officer that is collecting a pension out-of-state, i.e. Maryland. There are a lot of retired Baltimore officers living in the area. W. Tilley stated he thinks it only applies to a Pennsylvania pension. Sgt. Stalcup stated that they will have to be motivated; they will need to take a test and get compliance certified in PA. W. Tilley stated he isn’t entirely sure if a retired officer collecting a pension can’t work part-time, he recommended asking a pension attorney and offered to recommend one. The reason he knows this is an issue is because West Manheim just had to deal with the situation of an officer collecting a pension and working full-time – the answer was no, you cannot do that. He is not sure about part-time because they are not offered a pension benefit in the MOU and they are not contributing to it. Sgt. Stalcup stated that Chief Bean was collecting a pension the entire time he worked here. W. Tilley stated that was ok because it was from Florida; he isn’t sure if they are collecting a pension from Pennsylvania.
Meeting adjourned at 11:04 pm.