April 2019 Minutes

SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD

April 10, 2019 – 7:00 PM

 

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

  1. Shearer, R. Lint – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
  2. Bollinger (Chairman), D. Schmidt – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
  3. Miller (Vice-Chairman), S. Stambaugh (Secretary) – Manheim Twp. (MT)
  4. Hilt – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
  5. Bean – Chief of Police
  6. Nickell – Police Administrator
  7. Tilley – Solicitor

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:  B. Keiser (NCT resident) stated that the newspaper asked NCT manager, Sharon Kerchner, the reasons NCT filed the Letter of Intent to Withdraw.  She stated that the department is spending too much money on cars and hiring officers.  Who is responsible for the purchasing of cars and hiring officers?  M. Bollinger replied that the purchase of vehicles is a line item on the police department’s budget and officers are recommended for hire to the Police Board by the Chief of Police.  B. Keiser stated the newspaper article was contradictory; the NCT manager stated one thing and then later in the article it says the Police Board buys the vehicles, not the Township.

 

  1. Rebert (NCT resident) thanked B. Hilt, R. Whyland and V. Nickell for making the effort to calculate a budget for 2020 that resulted in a 25% savings for all the municipalities. He wishes a NCT Board member would have been involved in comprising this budget. Also, two officers have left the department, to include the Sergeant-Detective, and nothing has been mentioned at these meetings.  Sergeant-Detective Lisa Layden left to take a position as Chief of Police in Lancaster County; this should be celebrated.  The Police Board should be congratulating her.  Chief Bean replied that he distributed a press release that was published in the York and Lancaster newspapers, and he is very proud of Sergeant-Detective Layden’s accomplishment.  She competed with over 100 other officers for the position; her achievement of obtaining the position of Chief of Police was very impressive to everyone.  Yesterday was her last day; the department provided her a plaque with her badge and a luncheon.  Her absence from the department has created a large vacuum within the organization.   Sergeant Jamie Stalcup will be assuming her duties.  J. Rebert stated in the past the Police Board recognized those that served on the Board at the meetings.  Chief explained the timing of her leaving did not allow recognition during a Board meeting – she resigned after the last meeting and her last day was yesterday.   R. Shearer stated that her departure from the department was no surprise; she was planning to leave some time this year.  She has been talking about it for two (2) years.   Her leaving had nothing to do with what is going on with NCT.  M. Bollinger stated that they have known for some time that she was aspiring to move higher in her career, coinciding with her education and abilities.   J. Rebert stated that Sergeant Detective Layden’s accomplishment is indicative to the quality of the officers in this department.  There are a lot of people in the audience tonight, and he believes a lot of them don’t even know who she is; the Board should make some kind of presentation/recognition.  Chief Bean stated that the press release went out to all the Board members.

 

  1. LeFever (NCT resident) expressed her appreciation to B. Hilt, R. Whyland and V. Nickell for all the hours put into the 2020 budget project. She thanked all those present for their efforts in keeping the department intact.

 

  1. Muir (MT resident & supervisor) made the following comments:
  • No doubt the department has some quality officers, but as a father & brother, he is not impressed with a lot of them.
  • In the early years, MT did not have any issues with the police department. They complained about the cost, but that was just complaining.
  • Ove the years things have happened that have been glossed over. Between that and some of the things the Chief has said, MT now has issues with the department.
  • Two officers have been charged with assault, one was for domestic abuse; and he did not miss a day without pay. Chief Bean replied that was not true at all.  Muir continued, saying that the fact that this officer still has a job and continues to serve the municipalities as an officer is sickening.
  • One officer shot someone in the leg while he was handcuffed in the back of a car; this officer was in charge of weapons training for the department.
  • There were officers telling non-truths to the point that the Chief apologized at a MT board meeting for what they did.
  • Everything he has said is on the internet; he encouraged everyone to do their homework and google it.
  • One officer cannot qualify with a long gun.

Chief Bean made the following response:

  • Police officers are no different from others; they make mistakes.
  • He investigates any issue that comes up; whether intentional or accidental.
  • An officer was involved in a domestic situation. There was a thorough internal affairs investigation performed by this department; as well as a criminal investigation by the York County District Attorney (DA).  The results of that investigation showed the incident did not rise to the level that would prevent the officer from working.  This was not a decision by the Police Board; it was a legal decision from the DA’s office.  In this case the officer was given a summary offense which is like a ticket; that is the way the DA settled it.  Pennsylvania employment law says that if someone is convicted of a summary offense they can continue to work as a police officer.  This officer lost six (6) months of pay but retained his position.  That was not our decision, it was employment law.  He has done a stellar job since then.
  • Another officer, who by all accounts, including the DA’s investigation, made a mistake and never intended to hurt anybody or use his firearm. In the heat of wrestling with a suspect the officer reached for the wrong weapon.  This happens throughout the U.S.; it’s horrible, but it is a mistake.  Some people say an officer is given some kind of grace because they are an officer; he believes an officer goes through more because of their position of trust in the community.
  • This officer has been off without pay since December. Our police department and our Board does everything we can by the book, with no malice or prejudice in any way, shape or form, just like any employer would do.  Officers do have advantages; with their job they do have certain rights that maybe the person at Rutter’s doesn’t have, that’s just the way it is.  The department works within those bounds; we have not given any of our employees special advantages in any way.  We are waiting to see what is happening with this officer who is out on charges.  If the DA’s office decides after a thorough investigation that the charges do not rise to the level that the officer can be terminated, then they will be back.  If it does rise to the level where they can be terminated, then they won’t be back.
  • In regard to the comment that Chief apologized at a MT meeting; he apologized for the fact it has caused a lot of friction between the two groups. His role for seventeen (17) years has been to not cause friction and to solve problems – he believes the Police Board would agree with this.  He does not like the fact that it has caused friction – that is not his intent or what he wants.  We have a disagreement; officers have the right to say “this is what’s going on” and then people decide what side of the fence they are on.  There are strict rules of what they can do while on duty, and he has made sure these rules are being followed.  We do not have a renegade group of officers here at all; it’s a good group.  If you talk to our peers within York County we have a very, very good reputation.  He is regarded as a strict Chief as opposed to many others.  Employees have a Code of Conduct, and if they violate it, they are in trouble.  Employees are held to a strict standard and we’ve never varied from that.
  1. Bollinger stated that there is no doubt there is a lot of turmoil and friction in every direction you look. M. Muir had no response to the Chief’s comments.

 

  1. Rebert stated that he understands the point, but if these are the type of things that are happening, it has to be brought before the public. He doesn’t read the paper or get on the computer every day, and there are a lot of people like him, who are concerned about what happens in their community. If they don’t hear it here or in their municipality’s board meetings, they don’t know what is going on.  Chief Bean asked what we could improve on.  J. Rebert said he knows you can’t give names but it could be reported at the Police Board meetings, maybe in the Chief’s Notes.  There needs to be better communication between the public and the municipal and police boards.  He realizes everyone is very busy doing many different things, but this is a very important issue in everybody’s life in all four (4) of our municipalities.  If the residents are not aware of what is going on they cannot draw a conclusion other than “I haven’t heard anything so I have a lot of respect for the officers that I know.”    He is aware that some things have happened in the past that were taken lightly, in his opinion.  It’s a difficult job, but he thinks there needs to be better communication.  R. Shearer stated that J. Rebert created the Personnel Committee when he was serving on the Police Board.  This committee was supposed to take care of exit interviews and other issues related to personnel; presently that committee is not used for that at all.  The Police Board found out Lisa Layden was leaving the same way the media did – through a press release.  Officer Johnson left in May of 2018, he found out through the Treasurer’s Report, and he was on the Personnel Committee at that time.  This is one of NCT’s biggest issues; we have an 8-member Police Board and it’s often one or two people making decisions.  J. Rebert stated that another thing he doesn’t see the Police Board doing is accepting the employee’s resignation; he has yet to see that on any agenda.  Isn’t that necessary anymore?   Chief Bean replied that when an employee provides him with a letter of resignation they tell him what their last day will be.  There isn’t any stipulation of how a police department handles that, other than he lets the Police Board know as soon as the letter is submitted to him.  There isn’t a formal process of accepting a resignation – we don’t really have a choice, other than to accept it.  We are very open about everything that we can be.  The Chief’s Notes contain more detail; they are intended for the Police Board.  Maybe they could be posted on-line, we have not had that request so did not see any need to do so.

 

  1. Miller stated when J. Rebert was on the Police Board; all the decisions came through the Police Board. He doesn’t understand how things are being done now. One way to catch up on what is going on in the Department is to go on the newspaper website and search “Southwestern Regional Police” – the articles will give you all the information you need.

 

  1. Zeigler (NCT resident) asked the following questions, answers given by W. Tilley:
  • It is his understanding that an actuarial study needs to be done in order to determine the cost of NCT withdrawing.
    • An actuarial will be done if the withdrawal causes consequences to the pension, but it isn’t known yet if that is the case.
  • Will there be some kind of study or calculation done to determine what cost, if any, to NCT?
    • Maybe, he cannot answer definitively.
  • If it is determined a calculation is needed who would do it, NCT or the Police Board?
    • The way he is expecting it to work is that the Police Board would retain someone to perform the calculation.
  • Who would bear the cost of the study?
    • Initially the Police Board, but under the Articles of Agreement NCT would be required to reimburse them.
  • If the calculation is required, is there any idea/timeline of when it will be done?
    • We would have to see if there are consequences to the pension and that is when we would see what the effects are on personnel, i.e. if there is a reduction and early retirement. We need to see how it all plays out.
  • Will building depreciation be considered as well?
    • The building would need to be appraised.
  • Is there a timeline to begin the process?
    • We have had discussions with an accounting firm about what might need to be done. It’s premature to say whether anything is needed at this point in time.
  • As a resident, he (and many others) is very interested to know what the cost to NCT will be to withdraw.
    • The estimate all along has been somewhere around $1,000,000. This is based on the current budget, what the anticipated expenses will be, and the reimbursement component.
  • Who will pay for the legal expense to withdraw; NCT or the Police Board?
    • The department is paying them initially; the expenses are being segregated for reimbursement from NCT, which will probably be done early in 2020.
  • While reading through the minutes, he saw there was discussion (November) regarding whether NCT would participate in Executive Session regarding their intent to withdraw, and W. Tilley was going to write a letter to the State Ethics Committee. What was the outcome of that?
    • The Police Board has determined that NCT would participate in the Executive Sessions.
  1. Shearer requested clarification. He thought the Police Board had approved W. Tilley to begin the process – has this been done? W. Tilley replied yes.  R. Shearer asked why W. Tilley just said he didn’t know if it would have to be started.  W. Tilley replied no, he was referring to an actuary study; the nature of the expenses will still have to be determined; he doesn’t want to say NCT will have to pay for an actuary study because we don’t know that yet.  If there are consequences to the pension, then we will need one.  W. Tilley said the Police Board approved him to start negotiating the Separation Agreement, he has one to present tonight.

 

  1. Lehman (NCT resident) stated that he and his wife have been attending the Police Board and NCT meetings and are very frustrated with the Boards not sharing the facts. When questions are asked they hear “there are things going on that you aren’t being told”. Why aren’t they being told?  Residents cannot make an informed decision without the facts.  He encouraged everyone on the Boards to be open with the people they are working for.  L. Miller asked him what his questions are.  L. Lehman asked where the money will come from if NCT has to pay a $1,000,000 penalty.  When the NCT supervisors are asked this, they do not give an answer.  M. Bollinger replied there is only one person on the Police Board that can answer that question, R. Shearer.  R. Shearer replied that he has told him before, the $1,000,000 is a figure somebody pulled out of a hat; they do not know what the penalty will be.   There are credits for start-up costs and the building that need to be calculated before we know what the penalty will be.  NCT put $900,000 into the pension fund; it’s difficult to say where the money is going to come from because we do not know how much will be needed.  NCT legal counsel assures them it will not be anywhere close to $1,000,000.   L. Lehman stated, even if it’s $500,000 the Township should know where that money is coming from.  Residents have told NCT Supervisors they want a survey done, but they won’t listen.  They should call a special meeting and have the Supervisors and the Police Board there to answer all the residents’ questions.  R. Shearer replied they tried that years ago at Grace Fellowship Church and it is very difficult to do – people talk over one another and you can’t hear what they are saying.  The money would come from the interest they have in the building and the savings they would get by going with another police department.  L. Lehman asked how can they know how much they will save when they don’t even have a figure yet.  R. Shearer replied that he does have the figures and he will be announcing them at the next NCT meeting.

 

  1. Ziegler (NCT resident) asked when they can expect to hear from the Police Board what NCT will be assessed to leave the police department. With all due respect, the solicitor spoke, but he didn’t get an answer. It is concerning to him that January 1, 2020 is eight months away and there isn’t even a time table.  He isn’t asking for a specific date, but he would think by now you would have a general idea of a deadline; ie., by July 1.  W. Tilley replied that the Articles of Agreement state the numbers are calculated at the effective date of the withdrawal.  He thinks we will know sooner than that, but he cannot say precisely when because it depends on how the negotiations go.  For example, he has estimated the cost to be $1,000,000 – Mr. Shearer has said his legal counsel has said it is much less.  He has disclosed where his calculation came from (the current budget, what the anticipated expenses will be, and the reimbursement component); Mr. Shearer has not disclosed where his calculation is coming from, so he doesn’t know what they are saying and why.  Without that information it is very difficult for him to come up with a number and say whether they can agree or disagree.  Without being able to engage in that interactive process it is very hard to have a time line because he doesn’t know when he will get the information from them or when they will come to an agreement on a number.  When he receives that information from them we can start that discussion.  At the March meeting the Board asked him to draft a Separation Agreement to start the discussion process of coming up with exactly what he is asking for.  The draft of the agreement will be distributed and discussed during the public session tonight.  Those in attendance tonight will know just as much as the Police Board knows, they will learn it as the Board learns it.  T. Ziegler thanked W. Tilley and expressed hope that NCT will share what they know at their next Board meeting.

 

  1. Shearer stated that he is confused; W. Tilley had stated he would be contacting the NCT solicitor to get the process started and he is not aware that this has happened. They cannot answer if nobody has asked. He asked for clarification – is NCT hiring an auditor or the Police Board?   W. Tilley replied that the Police Board will retain an auditor and if NCT reviews their report and are satisfied with it they won’t need to hire anyone; if they aren’t satisfied then they can have a separate audit performed.  He has been communicating with RKL to see what might be needed to be done.  It’s premature; they have not been engaged for any purpose, they have just been telling him what might be needed.   R. Shearer stated he was confused, he thought we (NCT and the Police Board) were going to agree upon one auditor to do the audit so two different ones wouldn’t have to be done and they wouldn’t be going back and forth about the numbers.  He hopes it doesn’t drag out – NCT gave the Police Board a “heads up” in September of 2018 that they weren’t happy with the way things were going.  They were told that NCT wanted something to look at by November.  November came, December came and they still hadn’t been provided anything.  Nothing was provided until B. Hilt and R. Whyland sat down and put the 2020 budget proposal together.

 

  1. Rebert (NCT resident) stated that he understands what R. Shearer is saying, but NCT rejected the 2020 budget proposal before they ever discussed it in public at a NCT meeting. R. Shearer stated that was not true. M. Bollinger stated that it is true R. Shearer said something in September, but then in October they submitted the Letter of Intent to Withdraw (LIW).  That caused a lot of extra work, so of course the November date couldn’t be met.  J. Rebert clarified, he is talking about the 2020 budget proposal, not the LIW.  There was never any discussion of this budget proposal in a public meeting.  R. Shearer stated they sent a letter stating they were going to continue to move forward, not that they were done.  J. Rebert said this budget should have been discussed in public at NCT and they should have looked into it in depth to see if anything else could have been cut.  R. Shearer replied that tonight they will be discussing some things that will save money; one that NCT proposed many years ago.  The LIW was to make the Police Board understand that they were not threatening; they are serious about it.  The LIW did not go into effect until January 1, 2019; the Board had until January 1st to reduce the budget.  W. Tilley stated that was not correct, NCT passed a Resolution.  R. Shearer disputed this, stating W. Tilley better find the LIW and read it because it said it goes into effect January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 would be their last day.  W. Tilley located the LIW and stated it said NCT had passed a Resolution to withdraw from the police department effective January 1, 2020.  It does not say there will be a waiting period or anything like that.  The letter said a Resolution had been passed and a decision had been made.  R. Shearer stated you have one year, and that’s what they did, it went into effect January 1, 2019.  W. Tilley disagreed, saying it went into effect the date of the LIW, October 9th.  R. Shearer stated if that’s the case, they will be out of here October 9, 2019.   W. Tilley stated no, the LIW stated January 1, 2020.  R. Shearer replied that this is exactly why he has wanted somebody else for the Police Board legal counsel.

 

  1. Rebert asked for clarification – is the Police Board going to do an actuarial study or not? L. Miller stated that it would only be needed for pension purposes. J. Rebert asked how can you determine what kind of credit NCT has coming without doing the study?  He knows that in the beginning they overfunded the pension.   W. Tilley stated this is not what the Articles of Agreement says; it says only specific capital contributions can be considered for reimbursement (credit).  Capital contributions are Exhibits “B” and “C” to the Articles of Agreement.  The paperwork he has been given shows payments of $124,000 in capital contributions; items that have all been depreciated out.  Based on the information that he has, he does not see any credit for the initial capital contribution coming back to NCT.  That is why he is curious to hear from NCT what they are basing their calculations on; when he gets that information he can then make an evaluation on what they are saying – obviously he has a different perspective than they have.

 

  1. Hilt pointed out that on page three of the minutes from last month’s meeting it says, “What is the status of the actuarial study of the police pension? V. Nickell replied that the study has been ordered and she was told it would take at least three (3) months to complete. She informed the pension provider that was too long, and they said they would try to get it done as quickly as possible; she doesn’t expect to see it any earlier than two (2) months though (April)”.

The actuary study referred to was ordered as part of the 2020 budget proposal.  J. Rebert asked if it is still going on.  V. Nickell replied yes, they had told her at least three (3) months; it is being done by the pension provider, The Standard.   M. Bollinger stated that this actuary is the result of the 2020 budget proposal, not the LIW.  R. Shearer disputed this, asking what event caused the 2020 budget proposal?  M. Bollinger said his point is it wasn’t something legal counsel ordered in response to the LIW.

 

  1. Tilley stated the next step is to review the Separation Agreement he drafted and then have the elected Board representatives take it back to their respective municipalities for their input. Next month each municipal representative can then present what their Board had to say and the discussion can be continued.   The Police Board authorized him to draft the Separation Agreement last month in an effort to keep things moving forward.  In previous months the Board had been trying to prevent NCT from leaving and that is why the actuarial study of the police pension was ordered (to see if officers could retire early and apply those savings to the 2020 budget proposal).  We received a letter dated March 6th from NCT saying that although they appreciated the efforts that were made to achieve the cost reductions, they did not change their decision to proceed with leaving the police department.  That meant that we had to move forward and start the Separation Agreement.  This wasn’t done prior because it would have been a waste of money if NCT had then reversed their decision to withdraw.  The goal is to start the discussion.  He is trying to make the process non-contentious, bring everything out in the open, that is why he is prepared to present the draft tonight.  R. Shearer stated that if that’s the case, why did the Board go into Executive Session in October with only four (4) Board members to begin the process?  He doesn’t want to hear that it was because the LIW said a proposed Separation Agreement was requested in 30 days; W. Tilley had commented at the October meeting that the Board was not required to abide by the 30 day time line.  W. Tilley responded he still had to get Board authority to respond to the LIW.  R. Shearer stated that he should have gotten the authority from the majority of the Board, not four (4) members.  W. Tilley stated it was the majority of the six (6) members that were not conflicted out, in his opinion.   R. Shearer stated NCT was conflicted out because it was W. Tilley’s opinion, not a legal opinion.  W. Tilley stated that they did it because the LIW, dated October 9, 2019 said we had thirty (30) days to respond, decisions had to be made that night.  R. Shearer continued to disagree with W. Tilley on this point for an extended time.  W. Tilley stated that he advised the Board they didn’t have to respond in 30 days but he needed to hear from the Board whether or not they wanted to; there wasn’t a legal requirement but they had to develop a legal strategy of responding to the letter, which was asking for a response within 30 days.  He thinks it was appropriate to ask the Board how they wanted to respond.

 

  1. LeFever (NCT resident) stated that she has been attending every NCT and SWRPD meeting for many months, and as she is trying to piece all of this together. She sees a need to improve communications between the Boards and the residents.  Perhaps putting the Chief’s Notes on the website, or videotaping the meetings and posting them on the website would be helpful.  B. Hilt asked the Chief how many people look at our website.  Chief replied that we started a new website about six (6) weeks ago.  It has the ability to tell us how many people visit and what they look at, but he has not been in charge of it; one of the patrol officers has been handling the new website, so he is unable to answer.  His policy has always been to share as much information as possible; a daily call log and the crime stats are posted on the website as well as the minutes of the Board meetings.  He would have no problem with starting to post the Chief’s Notes too.  B. Hilt stated that it would be good to know; if not many people use the website it wouldn’t be worth the cost to post videos of the meetings.   D. Schmidt stated that if it is found the website is not being utilized much, we could start posting things on the “Nextdoor”  app.  He has used it to post photos and it may have the capability of posting videos.  It is free to use.  Chief stated we have received 25,000-35,000 hits on FaceBook, so we know it can reach a lot of people that way also.

 

MINUTES:  Review of the minutes of March 13, 2019.  Motion by L. Miller, 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 noted that two (2) transfers (total of $67,000) were made out of the Reserve Fund to cover expenses until the 2nd quarter payments come in from the municipalities.  The $67,000 and any other funds needed will be transferred back into the Reserve Fund when all the quarterly payments have been received.  She also pointed out that the Sick & Vacation Liability account has been drawn down to $44,000 and the payout for Sgt. Detective Layden has not occurred yet.  She expects the account to be down to around $22,000 after that has been paid out.  That account is being drained down.  B. Hilt asked about all of the repairs for vehicle 126 ($1,880 year-to-date).  This is the vehicle that we spent over $10,000 on last year; it has over 100,000 miles on it.  Chief responded we put an average of 30,000 miles a year on the vehicles and we have the oldest fleets in York County.  Older cars take more money to keep them running, but we have spent less on keeping this vehicle on the road than buying a new car at $39,000.    We haven’t changed the budget since 2017, so we haven’t purchased any vehicles since then.  We have always maintained the fleet by purchasing (1) one vehicle a year and retiring one.  Now that we are not doing that the cost to maintain the vehicles will increase.  R. Shearer asked if any of the vehicles have been paid off since 2017.   If there was money in the 2017 budget for vehicles and some of them have been paid off, could that money be used to purchase a new vehicle?  Chief Bean replied that the problem is we are being funded at the 2017 level, but the officers are being paid at the 2019 level per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  We need to save money where we can in order to be able to pay our expenses.  He has brought the issue of buying a vehicle before the Board many times, and each time he was told to “put it on hold”.  R. Shearer responded that according to the Treasurer’s report a lot of the line items are under 25%  being spent to-date and we are a quarter of the way through the year.  Chief stated that some invoices have not come in yet and by December 31st we will be short on money; you cannot continue to operate on a 2017 budget and pay 2019 rates.   Each quarter we have to borrow from the Reserve Funds to pay obligations and will probably use Reserve Funds for sick and vacation pay outs as officers leave.  That wasn’t supposed to happen, but it is because of the instability of the department.  R. Shearer stated that only one (1) officer has left because of the instability of the department (Poplin).  Chief replied that Sergeant/Detective Lisa Layden left because of the instability of the department.  If you were to talk with her, she would tell you she planned to stay here until she earned her doctorate, which is at least a year away.   When the LIW was received in October everybody started looking for a job.  Six (6) officers took the York County Consortium test and they are still in the running to get jobs with other departments.   Sgt./

Detective Layden left because of NCT leaving the department; she never would have even looked at the job market if it wasn’t for that.  To-date two (2) officers have left due to the instability of the department, and he could list three (3) or four (4) others that are possibly going to leave.  L. Miller stated that he spoke to Sergeant/Detective Layden at the Turkey Hill in West York last summer, and she told him at that time she wasn’t planning to stay with the department for more than a year.  Chief Bean stated that her plans changed and she would have never put in for the position with West Hempfield Township Police Department if it hadn’t been for the fact that our department would either dramatically cut personnel or fold.   On top of fighting crime he has had to deal with employees that don’t want to be here.  V. Nickell stated that Sgt./Detective Layden’s plan was to seek employment as a professor, but not until she had her doctorate, so she did leave early.  Motion by B. Hilt, second by S. Stambaugh to accept the Treasurer’s Report as presented.  R. Shearer noted that we are paying M&T Lawn Care for mowing performed in October.  V. Nickell verified that they are way behind on their billing, as she also received an invoice for the same time period for work done at her home.  R. Shearer stated that we shouldn’t be paying bills in March for work done in October.  Motion carried unanimously.  M. Bollinger asked if R. Shearer wants to get some quotes for the lawn care.  He stated no, but can’t we talk to them and request they invoice us for everything by the end of the year; if they don’t send the invoice by the end of the year we won’t pay it.  V. Nickell stated she would call them and discuss.

 

CHIEF’S REPORT:

 

Chief’s Notes (Attachment B):  The Chief’s Notes were presented as attached with the following additional comments:

 

Chief stated there were two (2) things that need to be addressed.  One issue deals with how to manage the department if more officers leave, as he believes there to be a potential for this to happen.  The current CBA will be discussed in Executive Session but he wants to present ideas of what needs to be changed in order to continue with less officers.  For example, scheduling – the number of officers allowed to be off on leave per day.  Chief has given the Board members an outline of the items needed to be addressed in Executive Session.

 

The second thing he needs to present is the hiring of part time officers.  We are ok with the number of officers we have but the difficulty comes when officers take time off, are sick, or injured.  We have stopped training because of the personnel shortage.  He doesn’t think we are able to hire any full time officers due to the instability of the department, so to fill shifts when the unexpected happens he has been looking into the hiring of part time officers.  He has spoken to different Chiefs that utilize part time officers and he thinks he can find some that are already certified and experienced.  We can cover the normal shifts now, but if somebody has to take time off or cannot work for any reason it creates overtime and the officers you have are so busy filling shifts they have little time for anything else. He is hoping to get an answer from the Board tonight.  M. Bollinger stated that he believes the CBA would need to be changed in order to hire part time officers.  Is the Chief just asking the Board if they are ok with changing the contract?  Chief replied that legally there are just a couple of words that need to be changed and he thinks the Police Association will be cooperative.  They have said at several meetings if the Board tells them what they want they will work it out.   R. Shearer stated that he is surprised because in the last two (2) contract negotiations they tried to get the language changed regarding part time officers and it was never even considered.  L. Miller stated that he has always been a proponent of it.  M. Bollinger and the rest of the Board agreed.   It will need to be brought to the Police Association by the Negotiating Committee for approval.  The question came up as to who was the chairman of the Negotiating Committee, the consensus was to appoint R. Whyland.

 

Chief distributed two (2) thank you letters to the Board. One was from a father whose 35 year-old son suddenly collapsed at home of a massive heart attack.  He was grateful for Officers Harrison and Rowland, who performed CPR on him; unfortunately he did not survive.  The second letter was from a woman who expressed her appreciation for her municipal police who showed up quickly when her house was being broken into on two (2) separate occasions.  She states the first time was 1986 (not SWRPD at that time) and the second was 2017.

 

There were five (5) press releases this past month:

  • The 2018 Annual Report is available
  • The York College Survey was mailed (14 senior citizens from Windy Hill assisted in stuffing, sealing and stamping the envelopes).
  • There was an attempted child luring in NCT on March 27 – no suspect information at this time and there have been no additional reports of any more incidents.
  • Detective Lisa Layden hired as Police Chief at West Hempfield Township.
  • Decisions made by the Police Board in the prior month.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

Health Insurance:  V. Nickell reported that the Negotiating Committee has been presented with the information pertaining to the proposed health insurance plan from Glatfelter Insurance.  A representative from Glatfelter was present to answer any questions.  The Police Association will be presented with this information on Sunday evening.  R. Shearer stated it is a very worthwhile insurance plan, it will save a lot of money and should have been done years ago.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Draft Separation Agreement (SA) – W. Tilley distributed a copy of the draft SA to the Board members.  He explained that there are three (3) separate parts pertaining to NCT separating from the police department: 1) ongoing costs; 2) lump sum costs (legal and accounting fees); 3) the Building Agreement.  He thinks there is enough information to discuss as least one (1) of those tonight.  He continued with an explanation of the SA as follows:

  • Paragraph I identifies the parties of the SA (NCT; HT; MT; SGB and the Police Board)
  • The Recitals summarize the Articles of Agreement and the five (5) Amendments. The relevant provisions for withdrawal are found in the original Articles of Agreement, Article 13 ¶B.
  • The next Recitals state that on October 9, 2018 NCT gave official notice of its intent to withdraw effective January 1, 2020. This was confirmed with a subsequent letter dated March 6, 2019.  The Articles of Agreement were adopted on July 17, 200 and provide for the withdrawal of a Municipal Member.  It includes the rights and obligations of that withdrawing Member as follows:
    • “The proportionate share of any continuing obligation and liabilities assumed by the remaining Municipal Members, which are attributable to the withdrawing Municipality’s participation, shall be paid by the withdrawing Municipality”.
    • “The withdrawing Municipality shall receive, in cash or in kind, as determined by the Police Board an amount equal to its capital contributions reflected in Exhibits “B” or “C” to the Articles of Agreement, subject to deduction or adjustment for depreciation and obsolescence.” The capital contributions do not include the building, and everything listed as capital contribution has been completely depreciated or replaced.  His analysis shows that no refund is due for capital contributions.  This is why the next paragraph of the SA states, “the parties hereto wish to confirm the manner in which NCT will pay its proportionate share of the continuing obligations and liabilities that assumed by the remaining municipalities.”
  • At the bottom of page three (3): “NCT shall pay its proportionate share, which is currently 48.4326% of the 2020 budget adopted and approved by the Board and by the remaining Member Municipalities.  The payments shall be made in quarterly installments on or before the dates (by month and day) of its quarterly payments in calendar year 2018.”  It will follow that same schedule of payments it followed in past practice.  The quarterly payments will not exceed the amount of the 2018 payments.  This prevents the Police Board from creating a budget that provides Cadillac Escalades for patrol vehicles.
  • The other costs and obligations (accounting and legal fees) are not presently known and will be handled by a separate agreement. He is trying to create some predictability for all of the municipalities and the department by saying there will be an ongoing quarterly payment for 2020.

 

  1. Tilley stated that each municipal Board member should take this draft back to their respective Boards for review and return next month with their comments. R. Shearer asked if their solicitor should look at it now or wait until the other municipalities come back with their comments. W. Tilley stated the NCT solicitor should review it now.  R. Shearer stated their solicitor will have to review the comments of the other municipalities, so why do it twice.  W. Tilley stated there will be some back and forth, but he doesn’t want to go another month without some feedback from NCT.  He thinks the other municipalities will be very interested to see what NCT has to say about the SA.  Everyone needs to be moving forward together, the conversation has to start somewhere.  The draft SA is what he was able to derive from the Articles of Agreement and the information he has in his possession.  He is hoping that if NCT has something different in their possession that they will bring it forward so there isn’t a delay.  From what he’s heard tonight, the Board members as well as the public are anxious to see how this is going to turn out.  Everybody needs to get everything out on the table as quickly as they can so this can be settled.  He doesn’t want this to be a contentious process and is hoping for an open sharing of information so we can come to an agreement.  That would work best and least expensively so it doesn’t lead to disputes or even litigation.  D. Schmidt stated it makes sense to move forward in this way so all the municipalities can then get together and decide which way to go.  W. Tilley suggested each municipality share what their thoughts are before the next Police Board meeting so everyone has the opportunity to digest all the comments.  That way everyone can have an idea of where they want to go prior to sitting down at the next Police Board meeting.    S. Stambaugh asked how the SA gets approved – by a majority vote of the Police Board?   W. Tilley stated he doesn’t know precisely, but his vision is that it would be done the same as an Amendment to the Articles of Agreement – the Police Board approves it with a majority vote, and then each Municipal Board does the same.   The Articles of Agreement state the SA is between the withdrawing Municipality and the Police Board only, but since the department would continue to be funded by the remaining municipalities he doesn’t think that makes sense.  He thinks it is best done with all the participating municipalities signing off on it.  Since everyone will be paying into the 2020 budget and will have to include it in their municipal budgets he thinks it is best to have all the member municipalities approve the SA.  R. Shearer asked if the Articles of Agreement will need to be changed in order to do this.  W. Tilley stated that the Articles of Agreement will need to be changed to reflect the new funding percentages and an Amendment would be done between the remaining three (3) municipalities.   R. Shearer stated that all of the current member municipalities are needed to change the Articles of Agreement to allow all the municipalities sign off on the SA.

 

  1. Shearer asked if NCT has to go to the remaining three (3) municipalities to settle the value of the building. W. Tilley stated yes, the Building Agreement is between the municipalities and not the Police Board. He can draft an agreement if the Police Board wants him to.  The reason he didn’t go ahead and draft that separate agreement is because there isn’t an appraisal on the building.  There isn’t really anything to discuss, it is all laid out in the Building Agreement; the main thing to do is have an appraisal done.  He suggested everyone go back to their municipalities and get a recommendation for an appraiser and then the four (4) can agree on one appraiser.  If not, NCT could get a separate appraisal done.  The Building Agreement says it is a ten (10) year pay out, so all that needs to be done is an appraisal.  He recommended that process be started asap, this time of year they are very busy and he wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a couple of months to get it done.  Also, the cost of a commercial appraisal will probably run around $5,000.   D. Schmidt stated that if this makes sense to everyone they should all go back to their solicitors and get the ball rolling.   S. Stambaugh suggested keeping the solicitors out of it and have the municipal managers handle it.  L. Miller stated it is a decision that needs to be made at a Municipal Board level, not by the Police Board.  Each municipality needs to take the SA back to their solicitors for review.  W. Tilley had suggested each Municipality communicate their thoughts to one another before the next Police Board meeting, how can they do this properly (without violating the Sunshine Law).   W. Tilley stated the comments can be put in writing and e-mailed to each Police Board member, but the discussion on it would be conducted in a public Police Board meeting.  The e-mail is just providing information, not deliberating it.  D. Schmidt stated that due to being new on the Board he is not sure of how things get accomplished between meetings; there has to be forward movement between meetings.  W. Tilley stated it would be the same as the Chief’s Notes – he does his work during the month and provides the report prior to the meeting for each Board member to read; then it is discussed in a public meeting.  Board members cannot talk among themselves, any deliberation has to be done in a public meeting.  Board members do not want to be reading the reports (e-mails) at the meeting while people are waiting to hear their thoughts on the issue at hand.  The public needs the confidence that decisions are being made here and they are witnessing it as they are being made.

 

Motion by L. Miller, second by D. Schmidt that each elected official take the Separation Agreement as presented back to their respective Boards for discussion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

OTHER ITEMS:                           

 

  1. Shearer stated that he had two (2) pages of items to read about why NCT submitted the LIW. Due to the fact there is a lot of work to be done in Executive Session, he will wait and read it at the next NCT meeting, since the NCT residents are the ones that asked. Chief Bean asked if it wouldn’t be fair for the Police Board, with whom he shares service, know what his issues are.  R. Shearer stated that he thinks they already know what they are.   For example, part time officers.  In seventeen (17) years the department was rarely at full staff and it would have saved a lot of money to use part time officers, it was never even considered.  Chief Bean disputed this, stating it was discussed a lot at the Board meetings.  It didn’t make sense when we had fourteen (14) full time officers, plus the CBA didn’t allow it.  Now, things are much different and it makes sense to do it.  Chief stated if R. Shearer is going to speak badly about the department, it should be done here.  R. Shearer stated he isn’t going to be talking bad, he is making points.  Chief Bean asked for an explanation.  R. Shearer stated he doesn’t need to explain anything to the Chief, and that is what the Chief doesn’t understand in the whole situation.  The Chief doesn’t explain himself; at the last NCT meeting he told a resident that there are four (4) police officers in NCT during school hours, and that isn’t anywhere near true.   R. Shearer stated that Chief told him he made a mistake, he thought they asked how many officers are on duty.  R. Shearer stated they have no idea how many hours they are getting now that staffing is down to eleven (11) officers – are they getting their 253 hours a week?   Chief Bean stated that issues with the police department should be discussed at the Police Board meeting, not the Municipal meetings – in an effort to be transparent and fair it needs to be discussed in front of this Board.  L. Miller stated it is up to R. Shearer in how he wants to handle this with his residents.  R. Shearer stated he is not here to argue.  At the last NCT meeting the residents said he has a personal vendetta against the department and/or the Chief.  He spoke with the Chief about it the other day, and Chief said he doesn’t feel that – is that still true?  Chief stated he doesn’t feel there is a personal vendetta, but anyone attending these meetings would think there is a lot of friction between NCT and the police department, because bad things are said about the police department.  R. Shearer had suggested to him that he was fueling it or the police officers were and he told him that was not the case.  R. Shearer stated that doesn’t make it personal; he has issues with the department but it isn’t personal – it’s him standing up and representing the residents of NCT.    Chief stated that R. Shearer asked him why people think it’s a personal issue against him and Chief said he didn’t know, the residents decided that on their own.

 

  1. Lehman (NCT) stated: All three municipalities were in favor of cost cutting, why wouldn’t NCT consider the proposed 2020 budget? R. Shearer stated they did consider it.  L. Lehman responded they didn’t; they said “no”.  R. Shearer stated they looked at it and the numbers aren’t where they should be.  They didn’t have the proposals from the other departments, how could they give an answer?  NCT does not think they can provide service with 11 officers, and the Chief cannot fill a shift, unless something has changed.  L. Lehman stated the Board is trying to change the contract with part time officers, so why couldn’t that be changed too?  As long as the Board and the Police Association agree, the CBA can be changed.  R. Shearer responded that’s why in July of 2017 after one (1) month of negotiation they received a letter of arbitration.  R. Shearer reiterated what he said at that meeting – the only control the Municipalities have over costs is through the budget.  They have no control of the CBA because the officers will go to arbitration and they will get what they want.

 

Meeting adjourned into Executive Session at 8:47 pm with no action to be taken afterwards.

 

Submitted by:

 

V. Nickell

Police Administrator