SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
January 9, 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) – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
- Miller (Vice-Chairman), S. Stambaugh (Secretary) – Manheim Twp. (MT)
- Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
- Bean – Chief of Police
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
EXECUTIVE SESSION: M. Bollinger announced the Board was going to conduct an Executive Session prior to the meeting to consult with our legal counsel regarding what can be discussed in Public Session regarding the aspects of NCT withdrawing from the police department. R. Shearer questioned why we are doing this now – we pay our solicitor $195 an hour and he said it should not be discussed in Public Session. M. Bollinger stated that there have been way too many phone calls from concerned residents and the Board needs to revisit what can be discussed in Public Session. L. Miller stated that he agrees with R. Shearer and he is confused about why we would go against what we were originally advised to do. W. Tilley stated that the Board can waive its confidentiality rights regarding the personnel matters in relation to the NCT Letter of Intent to Withdraw, and the Executive Session is to discuss and decide whether or not to waive them. W. Tilley stated that R. Shearer had been quoted in the newspaper that he wished he could discuss these things in public, and Chief Bean has expressed a similar interest; so this is the opportunity to waive the confidentiality rights and do so. L. Miller stated that he brought this up last month; he did not think it should be discussed privately in Executive Session, but publicly during Public Session. This is the first he has heard that the Board can waive those rights; it has been his understanding that otherwise you are violating Sunshine Laws. R. Shearer stated that he thinks it could open up the door to litigation in personnel, and he does not understand the advice we receive from legal counsel half of the time anymore. Last month he asked why we were going into Executive Session, and W. Tilley advised because we were discussing specific personnel issues. L. Miller stated that we are going to be discussing the same exact thing, plus more, so why is it ok to discuss in public now? M. Bollinger stated that there is not a difference, there is just a large number of residents that now want to know what is going on. W. Tilley stated that the Chief’s Notes state that he wanted an Executive Session to discuss this, and that is the catalyst for doing so. Chief stated that he did request W. Tilley look into doing this, and he also asked M. Bollinger. Chief went on to explain that the personnel issues that police departments usually deal with in Executive Session are typically disciplinary issues. This is more of a community issue, as proven by the number of people in attendance tonight. He doesn’t know what to say anymore in response to the many e-mails he receives about this each week. Not knowing builds tension and talking about it helps to take the angst out of the situation. The Board left the room to conduct an Executive Session at 7:08 pm.
The Board reconvened into Public Session at 7:25 pm. W. Tilley stated the Executive Session was conducted by the Board for the purpose of discussing what can and cannot be discussed in Public Session and obtaining legal advice on this matter and what confidentiality rights can be waived.
PUBLIC COMMENT: W. LeFever (NCT resident) asked what the outcome was of the Executive Session. W. Tilley stated he cannot disclose the legal advice, but the outcome was there will be an expanded discussion. W. LeFever stated that she thinks it is a civic duty to work toward win-win solutions whenever possible. If NCT withdraws from the Southwestern Regional Police Department no one gets blessed, and if MT withdraws the situation will become worse. She wants to encourage the Police Board to do whatever it takes to work with these municipalities and keep them on board. J. Rebert (NCT resident) stated that a motion had been made a couple of months ago about researching a replacement for legal counsel, but he does not recall the results of this motion. M. Bollinger stated it was tabled last month and will not be discussed until someone makes a motion to take it off the table. The consensus of the Board was that it would be too expensive ($20,000 – $30,000) to replace legal counsel right now. R. Shearer asked where we got quotes to bring new counsel on board; he doesn’t remember getting quotes for it. Chairman Bollinger stated there weren’t any actual quotes, he estimated it would cost that much due to the amount of time it would take new counsel to get up-to-speed on everything that is happening right now. P. Miller (NCT resident) stated he has lived in NCT for over 40 years, and he loves living here. He has heard both sides of the arguments, and he agrees with most of what he has heard. He doesn’t understand why it takes so long to make a decision about anything. He has operated his own business for over 40 years, and has had to make a lot of hard decisions; i.e., lay off employees, even friends. He believes everyone employed by the police department and all the municipalities stand to lose a lot. If NCT goes through with their decision (he thinks they have some valid reasons and he is not against it), the community will not be receiving the police protection they need or want, and the police department becomes insolvent. He does not think the police department can survive if NCT goes through with their decision; especially if MT is looking into doing the same thing. He has heard discussion that there are other municipalities that are thinking about joining, he knows of two that he has talked to that would join. He thinks both sides need to be more cooperative. Chairman Bollinger stated that the Board has tried for the last several years to get other municipalities to join, and they have come very close to having that happen. In speaking to why it takes so long to make a decision – we have eight people on the Board with their individual personalities, and they have to go back to their Municipal Boards (2 additional members on the Township Boards, 7 on the Borough Council); it causes a lot of back-and-forth. After tonight he thinks everyone will have a better idea of what is going on. Officer Brandy Goodling, President of the Police Officers’ Association, thanked the Board members and municipal managers who took the time to meet with some of the Association members last month prior to the Police Board meeting. From that meeting they concluded there wasn’t anything specific to be addressed at this time, but they are open to meeting and listening to concerns of the Police Board at any time, they have an open door.
Appointments: The Board positions expired December 31, 2018, so they need to be appointed tonight and will expire December 31, 2020. L. Miller nominated M. Bollinger as Chairman of the Police Board, second by S. Stambaugh. There were no other nominations. Motion by R. Whyland, second by L. Miller to appoint M. Bollinger as Chairman of the Police Board. Motion carried unanimously. R. Whyland nominated L. Miller as Vice-Chairman of the Board, second by M. Bollinger. There were no other nominations. Motion by R. Whyland second by M. Bollinger to appoint L. Miller as Vice-Chairman of the Police Board. Motion carried unanimously. L. Miller nominated S. Stambaugh as Secretary of the Police Board, second by M. Bollinger. There were no other nominations. Motion by L. Miller, second by B. Hilt to appoint S. Stambaugh as Secretary of the Police Board. Motion carried unanimously.
- Resident appointments were re-confirmed as follows:
North Codorus: Rick Lint
Manheim: Scot Stambaugh
Spring Grove: R. Whyland
Resident positions expire December 31, 2019
- Secretary/Treasurer/Administrator: Motion by L. Miller, second by M. Bollinger to appoint V. Nickell to this position. Motion carried unanimously.
- Solicitor: Motion by L. Miller, second by S. Stambaugh to retain Stock & Leader as solicitor. Motion carried with (1) Opposed (R. Shearer).
- Bank Depositories: Motion by M. Bollinger, second by S. Stambaugh to appoint Peoples Bank as the bank depository. Motion carried unanimously.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes of December 12, 2018. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. L. Miller asked what type of cars 126 and 128 are; Chief replied Dodge Chargers. L. Miller asked why there is so much of a difference in replacing the water pump in each vehicle – under $400 (126) vs. $1200 (128). Chief stated he would look up the invoices and advise the Board via e-mail; he is sure there was more work done for the $1200 bill. Both vehicles had extensive repairs last year – 128 needed a new motor and 126 a new transmission. These repairs were discussed with the Board prior to having them done. L. Miller noted that Apple Chevrolet replaced the motor in 128, and they are the ones that replaced the water pump for $1200. Chief assured the Board that he always looks at the invoices in depth before payment; he just doesn’t have the info with him at the moment. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. R. Shearer questioned why the bill for Stock & Leader was so high again. Last month W. Tilley stated that the bulk of the work was done for the NCT letter of intent to withdraw, and here the bill for November was twice what it was for October. W. Tilley stated that he forgot that the month of work he did spanned 2 months, the last half of October and the first half of November, so the charges were split between the two monthly invoices. R. Shearer asked what W. Tilley discussed with M. Bollinger for two hours (two of the line items on the invoice added up to 1 hour, 45 minutes). W. Tilley replied that he would have to refer to his notes at his office in order to answer. R. Shearer stated that he needs more detail on the invoices, the line items are too vague. He is not going to approve a bill charging NCT for a one-hour conversation with one Board member. W. Tilley stated that R. Shearer can call him any time he has a question about an invoice. R. Shearer stated it doesn’t do any good, it’s already paid. Last month W. Tilley said the October invoice would be the biggest one we get. Previous motion voted on – one opposed (R. Shearer), motion passed.
Chief stated there were 323 calls for service in December; 4,104 for the year. There were 195 traffic stops and 40 criminal charges were filed on 18 offenders. There weren’t any questions regarding the crime stats.
Last month we worked with two Baltimore City detectives to arrest a suspect in the 400 block of N. Pine Avenue in SGB. The suspect had shot a man in Baltimore whom he had a traffic dispute with. In another incident, a woman posing as a supervisor for Rutter’s stole one of the employee’s vehicles from the store in SGB. When the employee was distracted by a customer, the offender went behind the counter, took the keys to the employee’s vehicle, and drove off in their car. The car was located in Ocean City, MD. The OC Police arrested her, and upon her release she stole another vehicle. She was located in Pennsylvania by the State Police, and led them in a high-speed chase. State Police were unable to catch her that night, but she was apprehended a couple of days later.
Chief’s Notes (Attachment B): The Chief’s Notes were presented as attached with the following additional comments:
- Nixel – We have been using this service for free for several years. When there is a press release from the department, Nixel puts it out on Twitter, FaceBook, e-mail and text (to those that subscribe). We were informed in December that we would have to start paying $3800 annually for this service. Andy Shaffer, SGB Manager also uses Nixel, and was able to get the price down to $1800. Due to our current funding situation, Chief put out a request on Nixel asking any business owners to donate funds toward the cost of this service. He received a response from two organizations. The Spring Grove VFW donated $350, and the Spring Grove Chamber of Commerce $1,800. Randy Turner, 2018 President of the SG Chamber, presented Chief Bean with the check, stating they couldn’t think of a better way to spend the money within the community. On behalf of the Chamber, he stated that they completely support the police department and they want everyone to know it. Chief thanked Mr. Turner and the Chamber for their generous donation.
- York College Survey – The purpose of the survey is to give the Board an idea of how the department is doing in the eyes of the residents we serve. The Board members were provided with a copy of the proposed survey, and asked to supply Dr. Witherup with any changes they wanted. She did not hear from any of our municipalities. Chief thinks it is very important to get feedback from the community, and he is hoping to get approval to begin the process of mailing them out. There will not be any cost to the department, donated funds will be used and volunteers will be preparing them for mailing. M. Bollinger stated that he recalled some of the Board members had wanted to add a question or two, and as long as that has been done he has no problem with the survey going out. Chief replied that he has not seen any revision from Dr. Witherup. M. Bollinger requested he check, as there were some things discussed with her at the Board meeting last month. L. Miller stated that he took the survey back to his Board and they discussed it at length at their monthly meeting. He stated that none of the questions worked out with the residents in attendance of that meeting. He believes that the population of MT will throw it away as soon as they start to read the questions on the first page regarding the demographics. There was no formal action taken by the MT Board, but the consensus was that MT doesn’t need to participate in the survey. They won’t stop it being mailed, but do not think it will serve the purpose they need. Chief stated that the questions were formulated by the college, and they are a tried and true way to at least get a peripheral idea of the opinion of the residents. He will move forward with the survey, and let the Board know how it turns out.
- Reinventing the Department Update – We continue to evaluate ways in which to reduce costs and become more efficient. We have explored having other municipalities join, to no fruition. The same result has been realized in trying to merge our department with another regional department. We have looked into reducing personnel and obtaining different health insurance – both of which are the most expensive budget line items. The health insurance options do not offer the exact same benefit the officers have now, so obtaining different health insurance would have to be negotiated with the Officers’ Association. M. Bollinger stated that we would realize almost a 20% reduction in cost if we changed health insurance providers and make staffing changes. While he cannot provide exact numbers, the Personnel Committee will be meeting and reviewing the plan to put a timeline together for implementation. The health insurance quote was provided by The Glatfelter Agency as requested by M. Bollinger. His employer has been using them for their health insurance needs for many years, and has not had an increase in about six (6) years. Our current health insurance provider is Benecon, which is a co-op. We get a refund at the end of the year if all the funding we provide doesn’t get used up. This money is kept in a separate fund, and has been used over the years to offset the increases. The goal has always been to have enough money in this account to offset five (5) years of cost increases. The account does not currently have a five-year offset in it, so it is necessary to decrease costs. The quote received would give a savings of $180,000 for 2018. D. Schmidt (HT resident) asked if the 20% savings is shared proportionately by the municipalities. M. Bollinger stated yes, but for the good of the department, HT and SGB have offered to give their savings to NCT and MT in order to get them to a cost savings of almost 28%. There is also a municipality that wants to contract time from us, and those savings haven’t been calculated yet. There are a lot of “what ifs” at this point in time. L. Riebling (MT manager) asked if there will be a time reduction if there is a reduction to personnel, and if the Personnel Committee is a standing committee or a new one. M. Bollinger replied yes, the time officers spend in each municipality will be reduced proportionately. The Personnel Committee is a standing committee, and will be reappointed tonight. R. Whyland stated that he would like to set some goals set on the timing of everything; i.e. have a 2020 budget approved by September. M. Bollinger stated that is a task he was planning to give the Personnel Committee, and he would be glad to appoint R. Whyland to said committee.
- Press Releases – Officers participated in helping the community by taking up a collection of jackets and socks for children in need. Officer Nolan led the effort, and delivered items to York New Salem and Manheim Elementary Schools.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Chief Bean thanked the Board for all the effort put forth in trying to maintain the department.
York College Survey – Already discussed.
Allocate Year-End Balance per 4th Amendment – V. Nickell reported that there isn’t a year-end balance to allocate. She reported that a transfer of $46,000 was made from the Reserve Fund in order to make the last payroll of the year. As of December 31 the General Fund balance was negative $40,800. The Board needs to decide if the funds are to be reimbursed to the Reserve Fund or kept in the General Fund to make up the short-fall. We are short due to the fact that we are paying bills and the officers at the 2019 rate but receiving funding according to the last budget approved by the municipalities – 2017. She reported that tomorrow she has to do payroll and pay bills, which will be approximately $102,000; presently there is $104,000 in the Reserve Fund. Temporary transfers are made routinely at the beginning of the quarter due to the fact that the municipalities do not have to pay the quarterly bill until the 1st day of the 2nd month of the quarter (in accordance with the Articles of Agreement). A couple of years ago the municipal representatives of the Police Board verbally agreed to change the date to the 15th of the 1st month of the quarter. The consensus of the Board was to continue reimbursing the Reserve Fund as the funds come in from the municipalities. V. Nickell confirmed that she would do so.
Chief Bean stated that we have a 2019 budget that is not funded; the Board needs to decide if the administrative pay raises are to be enacted in accordance with that budget. In past the administrative raises have reflected the raises in the officers’ CBA (3% for 2019). The Cost of Living raise for Social Security for 2019 is 2.8%. L. Miller asked what budget the cost reductions discussed earlier were based on. Chief replied 2019; although it was not approved, it is the actual cost to run the department. The Police Board approved the 2018 budget, and that is the pay rate presently being used for administrative employees. R. Shearer asked if the proposed 2019 budget included the health insurance credit. Chief Bean replied yes, the proposed budget provided to the Board for 2019 had the health insurance credit included. The Board did not take any action at this time and requested it be brought up again next month. M. Bollinger admitted it is difficult when the officers receive a raise and the administrative staff does not, but the Board needs time to consider it.
2018 Audit – V. Nickell presented an Engagement Letter from Kochenour, Smyser & Burg to perform the 2018 audit at a cost of $5,175 – an increase of $25. Motion by R. Whyland, second by M. Bollinger to approve the Engagement Letter from Kochenour, Smyser & Burg for the 2018 audit. Motion carried unanimously.
- Budget Committee – R. Shearer, M. Bollinger, L. Miller and B. Hilt (per Third Amendment)
The following appointments were volunteered and/or made in absentia:
- Audit Committee – Stambaugh and TBA
- Building & Grounds Committee – R. Lint and TBA
- Personnel Committee (to assist the Chief with personnel issues) – B. Hilt and R. Whyland (R. Shearer declined to be re-appointed)
- Pension Committee – R. Shearer and L. Miller
- Collective Bargaining Committee – L. Miller, R. Shearer, B. Hilt, R. Whyland (M. Bollinger declined to be re-appointed)
Health Insurance Quote – The consensus of the Board was to have the Personnel Committee address this.
- Bollinger acknowledged and thanked the officers in the audience in recognition of National Law Enforcement Day. He then stated that he will not be in attendance at the February 13th meeting and L. Miller will have to take over the Chairman position for that meeting.
Sgt. Jamie Stalcup, encouraged the Personnel Committee to hold off on cutting personnel until June 1, as the situation will very possibly correct itself in that regard. M. Bollinger stated the Personnel Committee needs to talk directly with the Police Association, to which Sgt. Stalcup re-iterated Officer Goodling’s earlier statement that they have an open door. They want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Officer Lindenmuth stated that he attends a lot of the municipal meetings, and at one of those meetings someone had told Chief Bean they wanted to see “simple numbers”. That statement stuck with him, and he formulated the following cost analysis: Based on the 2017 budget, residents pay the following per day for 24/7 police service: MT – 26.5¢; NCT – 30¢; HT – 33.5¢; and SGB – 44¢. Between 2007 (when the grants ran out) to 2017, the NCT rates went from 24¢ a day per resident to 30¢ a day per resident – over a ten-year period the increase is only 6¢ a day. He thinks the Department and Police Board have done an excellent job in keeping costs down. NCT, HT, and MT all had part-time departments before we regionalized, and in total they employed 10 officers to provide part-time service (NCT – 5 officers; HT – 3 officers; MT – 2 officers). NCT presently receives 253 hours a week police service. It has been said that the Chief said they could cut 100 hours, down to 150 hours per week (round numbers). When they were a part-time police department they had 200 hours a week, so this is less time than when they were a part-time department. To calculate the per-day cost, Officer Lindenmuth stated he took the budget, divided it by the number of residents as reported by the Census Bureau, and then divided that by 365.
- LeFever asked for clarification on what municipalities are interested in joining the department. At one point someone said there weren’t any, and then another person said there is one, and P. Miller stated he knew of two that wanted to join. M. Bollinger stated that he is aware of one municipality. Unfortunately, he has had strong leads in the past, and they went up in smoke, we have to wait and see. He invited residents to feel free to ask him any questions after adjournment, and he will try to answer them. L. Miller asked what two municipalities P. Miller was referring to earlier. He replied West York Borough and Manchester Township. M. Bollinger stated that W. York just signed a 15-year contract with their officers, but any opportunity presented is looked into. P. Miller asked how the Board gets other municipalities – do they wait to be approached or actively seek other out. M. Bollinger replied it depends on whether it makes sense, and there are a lot of variables: 1) Is it an area we can get to easily; 2) Is the cost going to be reduced for all concerned; 3) Do they want to be full members or contract time; it is a very time-consuming and complicated process. Right now it is difficult to attract any new municipalities, but there is one saying if NCT stays they want in too. R. Whyland stated that there were several municipalities interested last year; and M. Bollinger, Chief Bean and R. Whyland met with them with proposals in-hand. Jefferson and Seven Valleys Boroughs were two; M. Bollinger sat in on a Codorus Township meeting and heard a lot of complaints about their police services. Unfortunately it is very difficult to get a municipality that utilizes PSP to buy police service. P. Miller stated he will go back and confirm that these two municipalities are interested and let the Board know. M. Bollinger stated that when they first started talking about forming Southwestern Regional Police there were seven (7) municipalities interested – R. Rebert stated it was all the municipalities in the Spring Grove School District plus Codorus Township. M. Bollinger stated that we will continue to move forward and work to make the department better and stronger. W. Manheim Township officers just signed a contract that is very lucrative to the officers ($100,000 base salary by the end of the 3-year contract); and they hired another patrol officer. They would save a lot of money if they joined with us. We have talked with them but to no avail. In the meantime, the four existing municipalities need to continue working at keeping the department together. W. LeFever expressed her gratitude to everyone for working so hard to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.