July 24, 2019 Minutes

SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD

July 24, 2019 – 7:00 PM

 

Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 7:00 pm.  The following were in attendance:

  1. Shearer – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
  2. Bollinger – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
  3. Muir – Manheim Twp. (MT)
  4. Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
  5. Stalcup – Sergeant, Officer In Charge (OIC)
  6. Nickell – Police Administrator
  7. Tilley – Solicitor

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:  W. LeFever (NCT Resident) stated that while she is very disappointed in the NCT Supervisors, she is very encouraged by the activity she is seeing of the Police Board.  She is especially encouraged by the leadership Sgt. Stalcup and others are providing.  She thinks audio recording of the meetings is a great idea, and wonders if it will include a P.A. system for the soft-spoken Board members.  She provided a written testimonial from a bicycle rider who had interaction with the Department to Sgt. Stalcup.   She asked why Scot Stambaugh’s title is “Secretary” but she never sees him taking notes.  W. Tilley explained it is not a “recording” secretary position; the position is to attest signatures and oversee the preservation of the records of the department.  Is the Department participating in the Smoke in the Grove event?  We are not competing this year, but an officer will be there providing police services.  Has anything been planned for National Night Out (NNO)?  B. Hilt replied no, SGB used to participate, but in discussion with Chief Bean last year decided not to participate anymore because the block party is held very soon after NNO; it will be August 24th this year.  She provided Ms. LeFever with information on the block party.

 

  1. Zeigler (NCT Resident) asked if the building appraisal will be available as a public record when completed. Yes.

 

  1. Lehman (NCT Resident) asked how much has been spent to-date on the NCT withdrawal. V. Nickell replied that it has not changed since the Board meeting on July 10th.

 

financial report:  V. Nickell reported that a temporary transfer of $40,000 was made from the Reserve Fund to meet the last payroll.  This account presently has a balance of $44,759; after the temporary transfers are reimbursed the balance will be $131,759.   She will be paying out the sick and vacation time for Officer Matthews this Friday, and needs Board approval to take the funds from the Reserve Fund and the Health Insurance Reimbursement accounts (50/50, as she did with previous officers upon Board approval).  The need for this is because the bank account for this liability has been depleted.  The total pay-out is $20,049.  The present balance of the Health Insurance Reimbursement account is $169,118.  Motion by M. Muir, second by R. Whyland to transfer 50% of the sick and vacation pay-out for Officer Matthews from each of the Reserve and Health Insurance Reimbursement Funds.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

A Board member has asked if there are surplus funds available due to the fact that five (5) officers have left the department.  After calculating the overtime cost caused by this, there is a surplus of $37,280 to-date.  This information is being provided to assist the Board in making future decisions on the funding needs for staffing the Department.  R. Whyland asked if employer taxes were included in this calculation; V. Nickell replied no, she only calculated actual wages saved minus the overtime spent.   The employer taxes saved is around 7.65% of the net savings.  R, Shearer asked if this includes the savings of benefits – no, just wages.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Use of West York Borough Officers – Sgt. Stalcup stated he has been communicating with the Chief of W. York Borough (WYB) to see if it would be possible to contract some of their full-time officers to help fill some of our open shifts in an effort to mitigate officer burn-out due to being short-staffed.  The WYB officers would wear their own uniform, vest and duty belt and Velcro our patch over theirs.  They would be operating under their own insurances.  In preliminary talks with their Chief it was thought they could do this at the overtime rate paid to their officers, which appeared to be a promising, viable solution to our present situation.  In recent talks he has found out that they would charge us $85 an hour, not the officer’s overtime rate (around $50).  Is this too expensive to consider?  B. Hilt stated that since we have saved some money in the officers wages (as just discussed) maybe we could use them short term, until we get the part-time officers on board.  How long will that be, do part-time officers have to do the three month field training (FTO) program?  Sgt. Stalcup replied that it depends on who applies for the part-time positions.  If an applicant has a lot of experience the FTO time would be shorter.  She stated that perhaps the Board could use the WYB officers but limit the expense to not surpass the amount saved in wages; she thinks it would be worth it to provide our officers with some relief.  M. Bollinger stated that the WYB officers do not receive any overtime shifts, making them more available to work for us.  R. Whyland stated that if we are going to consider doing this, we need to get moving, we do not even have an agreement drafted yet.   M. Muir stated that he does not think MT has much interest in doing this at this time.  One thing they would really like to see is a budget with three (3) municipalities.  Next month will be a year since they asked for this.  M. Bollinger stated that was incorrect, MT was presented with a budget providing them with 65 hours of service a week, which is what they wanted.  B. Hilt stated that budget was with four (4) municipalities, not three (3).  M. Bollinger stated there won’t be a budget with three (3) municipalities this year, that won’t happen until January 1st.   M. Muir stated that may be the most irresponsible thing he has ever heard, doesn’t he even want to know what they will be paying after next year?  M. Bollinger stated he already knows the numbers for next year; they are the same as they have been since 2017.  M. Muir stated a lot of assumptions are being made, such as; 1) NCT is going to pay a $1 million penalty; 2) the payment will be made in a timely manner; 3) nothing is going to be tied up in court.   MT had asked Chief Bean for a budget when NCT leaves – what will it look like for the three (3) remaining municipalities?   Next month it will be a year since they asked for this – Chief Bean promised he would have that budget for them the very next month but he kept kicking the can down the road.  M. Bollinger stated there was an 8-officer budget; the direction of the Department changes on a monthly basis and it makes it impossible to come up with a budget with three (3) municipalities.  M. Muir stated MT wants to know how many hours of service they will be getting and the cost when NCT is gone.  M. Bollinger stated that is a reasonable request now since we know for sure NCT is leaving; we didn’t know for sure until now.  M. Muir disagreed and stated that is the problem the MT Board and their residents have with the Police Board; it’s always “we’ll get to it”, this is the reason L. Miller left the Police Board; everything just gets kicked down the road.  We are now on month three (3) for the building appraisal, that’s ridiculous.  M. Bollinger stated these are pretty tough words coming from a brand new Police Board member who hasn’t even been on the Board for thirty (30) days.   M. Muir stated it is important for the member municipalities to have these numbers in order to make decisions in their budgets.  M. Bollinger responded he has the numbers.  M. Muir asked Sgt. Stalcup if they have a budget with the three (3) municipalities; Sgt. Stalcup responded he isn’t sure.   M. Bollinger stated he is pretty sure he saw an 8-officer budget.  M. Muir stated the OIC begs to differ, and one of the things MT is concerned about is whether NCT is going to pay a large penalty ($1 million).  R. Whyland stated now that we know NCT is leaving, can the Budget Committee put a budget together for 2020?  It’s hard to go backwards – let’s move forward.  We need a budget moving forward in order to know how we are going to operate starting in 2020.  W. Tilley made a recommendation to V. Nickell originally; two (2) budgets should be made – one (1) abiding by the current CBA (2 officers per shift) and one (1) that does not (less expensive).   This way you will know if it saves enough money to make it worthwhile to renegotiate a contract with the Police Association.   We will need a budget in order to begin negotiations with NCT regarding their payment.  M. Muir stated MT starts their budget process in September, and they are concerned that the Police Board is counting on getting a large sum of money from NCT.  NCT has made it crystal clear that their opinion of what will be owed is completely different from what our attorney thinks; this is going to be a long, drawn-out procedure.  W. Tilley stated he is hoping not, this is why he would like to see the budget.  He disagrees with some of the things the NCT attorney said, but some of it is worth looking into.  He thinks for the stability of the Department and the benefit of the remaining municipalities he would like to try to have some productive negotiations that would lead to a resolution of what the payment will be, and the timing of the payment (quarterly?), so it can be predictable.   The calculation of cost to withdraw should be put off until the end of the year, but moving forward he thinks it is important to develop two (2) budgets as he has explained; have it ready to be presented at the August 14th meeting.  M. Bollinger stated he thought a budget had been approved to present to the municipalities last month.   B. Hilt stated that budget was for four (4) municipalities; before NCT voted to sign the agreement with Northern Regional.  Also, the budget last month was the result of one (1) meeting of the Budget Committee with only two (2) Police Board members in attendance; she thinks the entire Budget Committee needs to sit down and work on this.   W. Tilley stated the Police Board needs to put aside hard feelings and move forward in a positive manner.  The budget is the fuel for the Department to move forward; the sooner they have that the sooner they will be able to have meaningful discussions with NCT concerning their contribution to next year’s budget.  B. Hilt stated she understands what he is saying about a new CBA, but it will take a long time to renegotiate the contract.  She thinks we should just look at a budget with everything as it is now (eleven officers).  W. Tilley stated that Sgt. Stalcup should develop a budget with the staffing both ways in order to see what the difference is.  R. Whyland agreed there should be two (2) budgets – one (1) following the current CBA and one (1) with how the Department would be reconfigured with three (3) municipalities.   He believes the reason the Police Board has been dragging its feet is because we didn’t have an answer from NCT until now.  M. Bollinger stated we sat down many times to try to figure things out, only to discover we were once again going in a different direction; we weren’t dragging our feet.  This is why he is hesitant to put a lot of work into this until January 1st.  A lot of work has already been put into all of this, and it has amounted to nothing.  W. Tilley stated he understands and respects this; nobody has worked harder than M. Bollinger in trying work through all the issues.  His concern is that NCT has taken a position that they shared with us through their solicitor making it important to have information that can be used to respond to them.  He doesn’t feel he can make an adequate response until he sees what the numbers will look like.  His reason for wanting them now rather than the 1st of the year is because the municipalities start their budget process in September.   A budget is needed to provide the Department with stability; so you know where you are going.  M. Muir stated that at one time Chief Bean stated that if the Department went down to three (3) municipalities they would probably pay the same or more for less service; the MT Board is not interested in paying more for less service.  If the price is going to be out of their range, they need to know by January 1st, in case they need to go somewhere else or do something different.  It’s time to stop speculating and put something down on paper.  There are options out there that have been made available to MT, and not knowing is not the way MT operates.  The more information the better; this will enable them to make decisions that are fiscally responsible, not emotional.  R. Whyland stated he thinks the Budget Committee needs to take the amount being paid by the three (3) municipalities now and see what the budget looks like from there.  R. Shearer stated that when they work this budget out he wants to use the 2019 actual budget numbers, not the proposed budget.  To clarify, this is the 2017 budget.   Sgt. Stalcup asked for confirmation that NCT is definitely withdrawing.  R. Shearer stated the NCT Board signed the papers with Northern Regional.  Sgt. Stalcup asked if they are absolutely, 100% out; R. Shearer replied “yes”.  M. Bollinger asked him if he still wanted to be involved in the budget if they are out.  B. Hilt stated they have an interest because they want to see what they owe.  R. Shearer stated that if the Police Board doesn’t want him involved in any more of their meetings just tell him, and October 1st they will be done; they won’t pay the last quarter, they’ll be gone.

 

  1. Crawford (NCT Resident) was recognized by M. Bollinger. She asked why NCT would be involved in a budget for next year when it’s the other three (3) municipalities that will bear the burden. W. Tilley replied they are still a member of the Department and still have representation on the Police Board, so they have the right to participate.   Legally they are permitted to be involved, if they choose.  T. Crawford commented they could be permitted to attend, but could also be ignored.  B. Hilt stated that the budget will still need to be approved by all four (4) municipalities.  W. Tilley confirmed this and stated that NCT will still be contributing to the cost of the Department in an amount that will have to be negotiated.  We want to proceed in good faith as much as possible and with as little conflict as we can, in an effort to come to an amicable resolution.  T. Crawford stated it doesn’t look like good faith has worked out here for the past six (6) months (in her opinion).  W. Tilley stated that whether or not she thinks that has worked (he respects and understands why she would say this) but two (2) wrongs never make a right; we should always try to do the right thing.  We should try to reach a resolution without conflict, and if we can’t we will have to take the next step.  We are prepared to do that, we are not negotiating from a point of weakness, but he doesn’t want to create legal work for himself at the expense of the Police Board when it may not be necessary.  R. Whyland stated that if the four (4) municipalities do not approve the 2020 budget we will continue operating under the 2017 budget.  W. Tilley stated that if the three (3) remaining municipalities agree on a budget that NCT doesn’t approve of they can wait until January 1st to implement it.  The reason it had to be approved unanimously wasn’t because of the by-laws but because of the practical matter that everyone had to contribute.  Next year you will have an agreement between the three (3) member municipalities contributing and then it will be a legal obligation on the part of NCT, not a budget obligation.    It will be a contract that they will have to pay so the three (3) remaining municipalities will not have to pay more than they are paying now.

 

  1. Strausbaugh (SGB Resident) was recognized by M. Bollinger. She asked why it is even a question of what NCT owes. If the 2017 budget is what’s been used this year, then NCT owes one (1) year of that cost without service.  It is very clear in the Articles of Agreement.  W. Tilley stated that it is not that straight forward.  She stated that they are the municipality pulling out and they cannot leave the other three (3) municipalities holding the bag or put them at further financial risk.  W. Tilley stated the contract says the remaining municipalities can’t be made to contribute or incur more cost because of their withdrawal.  Tonight you have heard that the budget is going to be changed, so their contribution amount is going to be changed as the result of the lower budget because there are fewer officers.  Even if they pay the same amount and receive the same service, there will be fewer officers, thus making the budget less, so the left over amount NCT will have to pay might be lower.  She replied that NCT did all of this with an attorney back in 2005 and 2006.  They did not proceed with this due to the cost; it would have cost them close to $1.2 million to withdraw.  The Building Agreement is separate; their share in the building would be paid back over a number of years.  She doesn’t see where anything needs to be negotiated.  W. Tilley stated he doesn’t think anything needs to be negotiated in the Building Agreement; it’s just a matter of getting the appraisals.  We won’t know what NCT will owe until we have the budget for 2020 in place.  M. Bollinger asked how does a budget with three (3) municipalities moving forward into next year give the result of what the penalty is for NCT.  W. Tilley explained that the way the contract is written, the remaining municipalities cannot incur extra expense as a result of NCT’s withdrawal.  So, what we have to do is look at the new budget, divide it by three (3) instead of four (4) and see if it results in extra expense to the remaining municipalities.  If it does, then NCT is on the hook for that amount; if it doesn’t, then NCT isn’t on the hook.  This is why we need to know what the budget is for next year.  M. Bollinger stated that is completely different from what he has advised the Police Board before; he had said the penalty would be one (1) year’s budget payment.  W. Tilley stated that’s correct, but now that there are going to be fewer officers the budget is going to be less.  M. Bollinger stated we will develop a budget in the interest of the three (3) municipalities seeing what the real cost is going to be moving forward.  V. Nickell asked if this budget should be prepared with the remaining municipalities receiving the same number of hours as they did before the officers left.  If yes, then we need to budget for more officers than we have now.  W. Tilley stated this is one of the issues the Budget Committee will have to work through.

 

  1. Bollinger recognized T. Zeigler (NCT Resident). He stated from what the solicitor has advised, the 2020 budget should be what you budget now. M. Muir replied kind of, but their concern is what comes after that in 2021.  T. Zeigler stated that if he was in the position of the remaining municipalities, he would want a budget that maintains the same level of service they receive now.   Using arbitrary numbers, if MT is paying $300,000 for their hours now and those hours cost $400,000 in 2020, NCT would pay the $100,000 difference.  W. Tilley confirmed that is correct.  M. Muir stated they are concerned about what happens after 2020.  T. Zeigler stated that by keeping the same level of service, it give MT almost a year and a half to figure out what they are going to do.  He agrees that sometimes the Police Board drags their feet too long, but now that you finally have your answer from NCT they left you a very small window to work with (until the end of 2019).  He doesn’t know why the remaining municipalities would cut their services in 2020 if they are not going to be responsible for the increase in cost.  In January they can start looking at the budget to figure out what they are going to do in 2021.  W. Tilley stated that T. Zeigler is making a good point – if you reduce hours of service, the cost savings does not benefit the remaining municipalities, it benefits NCT.   M. Muir stated what good will it do the officers if they have to lay off the newly hired ones after 2020 – who’s going to want to work here?  You may as well work the budget to where you’re going to eventually be and if it benefits NCT, so be it.   The reason the timeframe is important is because if their cost were to go from $300,000 in 2020 to $350,000 in 2021, MT will not do that.   If MT is going to put in a Letter to Withdraw, the timing is important.  The quicker they get the information the better.  T. Zeigler replied that he understands, but his point is that the municipalities have committed to a certain level of service, and continuing that commitment gives them an additional year to figure out what they want to do.   They could start planning now and use part-time officers to keep the same level of service next year so nobody has to be laid off at the end of 2020.

 

  1. Muir stated he had a question that was brought up at their last Township meeting. NCT has to pay a penalty because they are in breach of the Articles of Agreement. The Articles of Agreement also promise a certain level of service that, in Chief Bean’s words, we haven’t received for years (especially this year).  What’s their recourse?  They are paying the full amount and are not receiving anything near the eighty (80) hours a week they are supposed to be getting.  What are the ramifications of this?  M. Bollinger asked if there is proof they haven’t been getting their hours.  V. Nickell explained, they aren’t now because we do not have enough officers.  The time count includes patrol and investigation, not just patrol.  Also, the administrative time of officers that are still employed is counted.   If an officer is not working a shift because they are on vacation or out for training, their time still needs to be counted because you are still paying them.  Things got confused this year because she continued counting the time of the officers that left, but she went back to the beginning of the year and corrected that.  In all the previous years they were getting the hours they paid for.  M. Muir stated that is not the comment Chief Bean made to L. Miller; V. Nickell replied that he must have misspoke.  R. Shearer stated that there were many years the Department was not at full staff; in 2016 we were down four (4) officers.  V. Nickell replied that was temporary, this year (for the first time) it is permanent.  R. Shearer stated you can’t count the admin time if they aren’t being paid.  V. Nickell replied that those officers were still being paid, they were out on disability, and they were still employed by the Department.    M. Bollinger stated that technically, if all the remaining municipalities have suffered a loss of service, it should be factored into the NCT penalty.  M. Muir agreed, if that was from the time they put in their Letter to Withdraw; but the Chief’s comment was they hadn’t been getting their hours for years.  So, back to his question, what happens if they are not receiving the hours they are paying for?  R. Whyland stated that falls back on the Police Board; the eight (8) of them are supposed to be running this Police Department.   If they don’t know what’s going on, then whose problem is it?  R. Shearer stated the Police Board was comfortable with the time count because they received the monthly report showing the hours they were supposed to be getting.   M. Bollinger stated that he thought the time counting issue had been addressed by correcting 2019, M. Muir stated yes, for 2019.

 

  1. Bollinger confirmed that Sgt. Stalcup and V. Nickell would formulate a budget with eight (8) officers. He agreed with M. Muir, if the numbers are too high at the end of 2020 they will have to make some difficult decisions. V. Nickell asked if they want to keep the same hours of service that they have now for the 2020 budget.   Yes, and one with a restructured 8-officer Department.  A Budget Committee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, July 31 at 6:00 pm, contingent upon M. Muir checking his schedule to confirm his availability.

 

Part-Time Officers Update – Sgt. Stalcup stated he e-mailed flyers to the 9-1-1 centers in York and Adams Counties last week and they distributed them to all the police departments.  A potential candidate came in yesterday to inquire about our tattoo policy and he ended up talking with him for an hour and a half.  On paper, there’s no reason not to hire him.  He is hoping to get Board approval to do so some time tonight, contingent upon him passing a background check.  Another experienced officer has expressed interest.  To have that much interest in one week looks promising to him.  M. Bollinger stated he likes the idea of using WYB, but not the price; he is encouraged by this feedback.  He thinks the part-time officers will happen more quickly than trying to use WYB; Sgt. Stalcup agreed.  M. Muir asked how long would it be until they could begin working and providing the officers relief?  Sgt. Stalcup replied it depends on the candidate and how much experience they have.  The candidate he spoke with has a few months experience with another department.  In speaking with him he appears to be assertive enough, and he is looking to gain some more experience.  He estimates this officer would be able to work on his own in about a month.  The consensus of the Board was to put WYB on hold until we see what happens with the potential part-time officers.  Does this officer live locally?  York County (Wrightsville).  Motion by R. Whyland, second by B. Hilt, to authorize Sgt. Stalcup to hire the candidate that lives in Wrightsville as a part-time officer contingent upon passing a background check.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Southern Regional Police (SRP) Update – B. Hilt attended SRP’s Board meeting and reported L. O’Brien was unable to attend this meeting and discuss a potential merger due to a family emergency.  D. Schmidt spoke with L. O’Brien after NCT voted to sign a contract with NRPD; and he stated that SRP is still interested in talking about a merger.  She was glad to have an opportunity to attend one of their meetings and observe how they operate; it confirmed her interest in pursuing further talks with them.

 

Building Appraisal – The company the Police Board chose at the last meeting changed their time-line from two (2) weeks to six (6) to eight (8) weeks, so they need to choose a different company.  V. Nickell referred to an e-mail from D. Schmidt, with a proposal from Jerry with Commercial Industrial Appraisal Services.  They propose completion in two (2) weeks (if the engagement letter is returned quickly) at a price of $2,200.  Motion by B. Hilt, second by M. Muir to approve the engagement letter from Commercial Industrial Appraisal Services as presented.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

Invitation to Chief Bentzel – It is customary for guest speakers to be approved by the Police Board.  M. Bollinger stated he does not have a problem with Chief Bentzel coming next month, what does the rest of the Board think?  B. Hilt stated she doesn’t see the point; NCT has already signed with them and she and D. Schmidt already spent two and a half hours with him; L. Miller talked with him as well.  M. Muir stated he spoke with L. Miller briefly, but not in detail.  The two of them need to be careful about what they talk about because they form a quorum for the MT Board.  All he said was that Chief Bentzel had some new information to present.   M. Bollinger stated he had spoken to him a couple of weeks ago by phone to set up the meeting with B. Hilt and D. Schmidt and he thinks it’s worthwhile to see what he has to say.  M. Muir stated it is his understanding that he will answer questions from those in the audience.  M. Bollinger instructed V. Nickell to put Chief Bentzel on the agenda for the August 14th meeting.

 

OTHER ITEMS:

 

  1. Bollinger asked Sgt. Stalcup if he needs to go into Executive Session for anything. He replied he wasn’t sure, if the Board wants to hear more about the part-time candidate, then yes, it should be presented in Executive Session. After discussion the consensus of the Board was they did not require any further details on the candidate.  Sgt. Stalcup informed the Board that there will be some upfront costs in hiring him as he will need some uniforms and probably a ballistic vest.  The Board had no objection.  W. Tilley added that the CBA dictates that uniforms and equipment have to be provided, so a motion from the Board isn’t needed.

 

  1. Whyland stated that the maintenance of the front of the building needs to be addressed. A landscaping/mowing company will not take care of power washing the front and getting the windows clean. V. Nickell stated that this used to be done by our employees, but there hasn’t been any time or personnel available to do it this year.   M. Bollinger recognized W. LeFever (NCT Resident).  She suggested maybe some people within the community would volunteer to do it; maybe post something on our FaceBook page.  She stated she could help pull weeds.  R. Shearer stated that York County Prison has a program for prisoners to do things like this as part of their rehabilitation; NCT has utilized this program to do maintenance at their building and community park.   M. Bollinger recognized P. Smith, a volunteer with the Department.  He stated he also volunteers with the Veterans Wellness Corp and the York County Court system.  Those in the Court system have to complete a certain number of community service hours, he can put a request in to see if anybody is available to help.  R. Whyland asked how much supervision is required to have them work here.  He replied none; they are not prisoners, they are out on probation and are required to do community service as part of their probation.  The consensus of the Board was to go ahead and have these arrangements made.

 

Meeting adjourned at 8:14 pm.

 

Submitted by:

 

V. Nickell

Police Administrator