April 2019 Minutes (Special Meeting)

SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD

Special Meeting

April 23, 2019 – 6:00 PM

 

Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 6:00 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, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
  5. Nickell – Police Administrator
  6. Tilley – Solicitor

 

  1. Bollinger announced the Executive Session will be conducted at the end of the meeting.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:  W. LeFever (NCT resident) stated she was travelling on Sunnyside Road in NCT today where the speed limit is 25 mph.  She was traveling about 27-29 mph when a pickup truck recklessly passed her on a solid line, yanked back into her lane to avoid hitting an oncoming car and almost lost control.  Right behind the car he almost hit was a motorcyclist without a helmet.  This really shook her up.  She caught up to him at a stop sign and wrote down his license plate number.  Can a resident perform a citizen’s arrest in these instances?  If NCT loses this police department, the residents may have to help in the policing of their Township.  M. Bollinger advised she should call the police department and speak with an officer; they can file a citation on the driver.

 

  1. Knouse (SWRPD retired officer) asked if NCT separates from the department, and then MT follows and the remaining two (2) municipalities cannot maintain the police department, what are the provisions for the pension plan? M. Bollinger stated this is a question for our solicitor, but he believes all four (4) municipalities are still under a legal obligation to provide the pension, regardless. W. Tilley stated he didn’t know if it is an obligation of the municipalities.  A private pension has an insurance similar to a bank’s FDIC insurance; he is not sure if municipal pensions have this insurance because he does not do pension work.  He thinks there is some type of protection for people in this position.  If the police department ceases to exist it will affect its assets but he doesn’t think it will affect the payments officers receive from the pension.  J. Knouse stated his greatest concern is, if there isn’t a department who is going to manage their pension?  W. Tilley stated that issue would be addressed if the police department dissolves.  J. Knouse requested the Board consider these issues moving forward.

 

  1. Bogue (428 El Vista Dr., Hanover) asked how much money is needed to save the department. M. Bollinger stated he does not know, NCT requested this meeting to come to the drawing board to listen and see what we need to fix it. We need to see what NCT has to say tonight.

 

  1. Snyder (6167 E. Hill Top Dr., Spring Grove) stated he has been led to believe by someone who is well connected politically that this is not about money; NCT Supervisors want Northern Regional as their police department. He sees this as “the elephant in the room”, if that’s true. M. Bollinger replied that there have been many theories going around.  NCT has received some pricing, according to the newspaper, from two (2) different agencies, and has revealed that pricing.  He is hopeful that they can begin to resolve things tonight.  C. Snyder stated he is under the impression that this is all about personalities, and if that’s true it’s disgusting.  M. Bollinger stated there are many aspects to the situation and we are here to see what NCT has to say.

 

  1. Ziegler (NCT resident) stated that at the last Police Board meeting R. Shearer stated he had two (2) pages of comments/reasons NCT was withdrawing from the department. He did not read them due to time constraints and stated he would share them at the next NCT Board meeting. L. Miller had told R. Shearer it was his decision of whether he wanted to read the list at the NCT meeting or the Police Board meeting.  Last week a lot of people at the NCT meeting were expecting to hear what the reasons were, and when questioned R. Shearer stated the Southwestern Regional Police Department did not want him to share the list with the public.  Is that true – did the Police Board take that position?    M. Bollinger replied that the decision was left up to R. Shearer.  Chief Bean had requested R. Shearer read it during the Police Board meeting so he could respond, but it was Mr. Shearer’s decision of how and where he wanted to share it.  It was not discussed in Executive Session.

 

  1. Bogue (428 El Vista Dr., Hanover) asked if the Police Board has tried to get donations from Utz or Hanover Foods to replace the revenue from NCT. Would this police department continue to provide service to NCT? M. Bollinger stated yes, if they decide to stay with the department.

 

  1. Ambrosius (MT resident) stated she thinks they need a better quality of policing, better personnel. It’s time people really look into this matter.

 

RESIGNATION OF CHIEF BEAN – M. Bollinger reported that Chief Bean turned in his resignation last week.  L. Miller asked W. Tilley if this should be discussed in Public or Executive Session.  He replied that discussion of the resignation itself is usually done in Executive Session, but a motion to accept the resignation should be done in Public Session.  R. Whyland stated this should be tabled until after Executive Session.

 

NCT INTENT TO WITHDRAW –  R. Shearer reported that the Negotiating Committee met with the President of the Police Officers’ Association and their attorney last night to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  He was a little disappointed that the MOU is only in effect until the end of 2019.  That means the budget proposed in 2020 doesn’t have a chance to survive.  That is not favorable at all and doesn’t give them any movement.  In a previous Police Board meeting W. Tilley had made a comment in response to a question from W. LeFever that the Police Board could sell NCT police services (contract services).  This is what the Police Board had attempted to do with Codorus Township and some other municipalities.  Is this something the Police Board would consider?   M. Bollinger replied that he can’t speak for the entire Board, but he thinks it’s worth discussing.  R. Shearer stated that a proposal had been put together for other municipalities at $75 an hour and NCT would be very interested in looking at something like that.  The only thing that would have to be worked out is NCT’s interest in the building.  The Board had the following comments/questions:

  • Stambaugh – what timeframe are they looking at?
  • Miller – MT has been asking since September what the police department would look like without NCT, and have yet to receive an answer.
  • Bollinger stated that the Sergeants and the Chief have been working on that budget, and he thinks they just completed it. As far as he is aware, there was no increase to the remaining three (3) Municipalities at the 2020 rate.
  • Miller asked for clarification – does he mean the 2020 budget with eleven (11) officers, or the original budget with fourteen (14)? M. Bollinger replied it is with eight (8) officers but there would have to be four (4) part time officers.
  • Miller stated he has heard that HT and SGB are committed to saving the police department no matter what – is that true? M. Bollinger stated absolutely, both Municipalities were willing to give their savings in the proposed 2020 budget to NCT and MT in order to keep the department together.
  • Miller stated that if they can’t give NCT or MT the answers they need, why not contract services? Contract 190 hours a week to NCT and 65 hours a week to MT at $75-$80 an hour.  HT and SGB know how much they can spend in their budget; from there they can build the police department into whatever they want.
  • Shearer stated that would be something fast, you wouldn’t have to negotiate a contract, and he thinks it should be something very simple. In order for NCT to stay, the 2020 budget needs further reductions and in order to do that you need to change the CBA and there are things in the Articles of Agreement they would want changed, i.e. the municipality’s voting power would be equal to the amount contributed to the budget.  The Articles of Agreement need some changes; they are so complex three (3) attorneys can’t figure them out.
  • Northern Regional’s proposal to NCT is for contracted services. They can attend the Police Board meetings and give their input but they cannot vote.  If they contracted services here it would be the same.
  • Bollinger stated he is open to discussing contracting services, S. Stambaugh agreed. M. Bollinger said he has not seen the budget with three (3) municipalities; he was given some rough numbers.  In an effort to avoid confusion with multiple versions of the budget being circulated, it has not been shared as it was very rough and preliminary.
  • Tilley needs to explain the legal aspect of two (2) municipalities wanting to contract services. What would the exit fees be?  L. Miller stated the Articles of Agreement would have to be changed, creating a new exit strategy.  They need changed anyway; the way they are written now they are not favorable for any new Municipality to join the department.
  • Shearer stated he was not involved in composing the proposal to the other municipalities (i.e. Codorus Township), but he heard it was a three-year contract and a two-year notice if they wanted to leave. M. Bollinger stated there would have been a 10% buy-in of the total worth of the department, and the Member Municipalities would have gotten a credit in accordance with the percentage they paid of the budget.  He agreed with L. Miller – the way the Articles of Agreement are written is prohibitive to others wanting to join the department.  It may be better to charge a flat fee to buy-in with no rights to the assets of the department.
  • Schmidt asked what the difference is between being a full-fledged member with voting rights versus just buying police service? M. Bollinger answered the benefit of being a full-fledged member is you have voting rights, if you contract you are taking the politics out of it.  He replied that contracting services to other municipalities makes sense to him.
  • Hilt stated the main purpose of the MOU with the Police Association is the enable the department to use part time officers to get them through this period of being short-staffed until 2020. R. Shearer thought they were also trying to get changes to the CBA in order to implement the proposed 2020 budget with all four (4) of the municipalities.  B. Hilt replied the MOU was so they can make immediate, temporary changes to get through 2019.   M. Bollinger added that changing the contract is a three (3) to four (4) month process; a MOU is a quick way to make temporary changes as needed.  He would think the hang-up the officers might have is they want some reassurance that they don’t go to the time, effort and expense of changing the contract and then NCT and perhaps MT withdraw.  B. Hilt added that the MOU buys them some time, it doesn’t mean the contract can’t be opened at a later time; it gives us what we need to keep the department operational.
  • Tilley stated that he hears R. Shearer saying what L. Miller was – we need to get to an end-game. R. Shearer agreed, stating we are seven (7) to eight (8) months into this and they don’t have anything.
  • Tilley stated that the issue the Board is facing is there are so many moving parts, you can’t make any final decisions until you know what the outcome is going to look like for NCT and MT, and the Police Association can’t either. He has been involved in negotiations like this before, where everyone has to move and take a position so the other parties know how to react.  For example, NCT says they are interested in contracting for 190 hours/week for service and then the next step is to find out what the costs look like.   Then the Board can put together a proposal; if it looks acceptable to NCT you go into the assumptions, i.e., we can do this if the Police Association does certain things.   You keep moving forward in pieces.  R. Shearer replied, everyone needs to understand the first piece didn’t move for four (4) months.  S. Stambaugh asked how long the other departments are asking for to prepare to provide service to NCT?  R. Shearer replied three (3) months.
  • How many hours does NCT want? After some discussion it was decided 170 hours a week, as this is what the proposals from other departments are for.
  • Miller pointed out that if the MOU is in effect until the end of the year, the Negotiating Committee needs to start negotiating the changes needed in 2020 now.
  • Bollinger asked what kind of term is NCT looking for? R. Shearer stated they want the same thing that was offered to Codorus Township, and he wants to see the proposal they had.  R. Whyland stated that $75 an hour is not a realistic number, it’s closer to $85 an hour.  He cannot give a precise figure tonight.
  • Miller stated that four (4) municipalities are having trouble figuring out how to keep the department together – contract to two (2) of them and the remaining two (2) should be able to figure it out.
  • How many hours does MT receive now? 84-85 a week, they are proposing to contract at 60.
  • Hilt commented that the officers would have to agree to the changes needed in the CBA in order to contract services to NCT and MT. L. Miller agreed, and that is why you need to start negotiation the CBA now.  B. Hilt replied that it only makes sense to start negotiating if NCT is going to stay in some capacity.  M. Bollinger understands the point of starting the negotiations because we are headed down that road anyway.
  • Schmidt commented that things shift with every new piece of information; he can understand why this is taking a fair amount of time.
  • Bollinger stated this is a bend in the road he can follow; he has been given something definitive that he can work on (not him, the staff).
  • Whyland stated that if he is given the task of working a budget without NCT he can do that, but nobody has told him to do that. D. Schmidt asked would you need a budget with three (3) municipalities or two (2) plus contracting services?  M. Bollinger stated he thinks that is the way to go, L. Miller confirmed.
  • Whyland pointed out they already worked out a budget with all four (4) municipalities that reduced the number of officers, the hours of service, and the cost, but it was not acceptable.
  • Bollinger stated that if NCT and MT stay with the department, but as contracted municipalities; we are already at a place in personnel where it is financially feasible with part time officers on board. D. Schmidt asked for clarification – is that with the eleven (11) officer budget or the (8) eight officer budget?   He replied the budget with HT, MT and SGB – but that wouldn’t be a consideration if we contract services to NCT and MT.
  • After continued discussion, it was summarized that in order to start contracting services, the Board will need to:
    • Figure out how many full time and part time officers would be needed.
    • Calculate an hourly rate.
    • Re-write the Articles of Agreement.
    • HT and SGB will have to decide how many hours of service they want, and then they can build the budget to include the contracted hours to NCT and MT.
  • Whyland asked if the Articles of Agreement are changed, would it be retroactive? The four (4) Municipal Members are obligated to the current Articles of Agreement.  W. Tilley stated that the only retroactivity he would see would be waiving the requirement for the one (1) year notice for MT.  R. Whyland responded that MT hasn’t even discussed leaving.  W. Tilley pointed out that if you are discussing contracting services, you are discussing changing the relationship.   He stated that it would be a forward-moving agreement; it would take effect January 1, 2020.
  • Miller stated that it would be an easier way to make everything work. Since the building is part of the Articles of Agreement, maybe they will just leave their share in it.  W. Tilley stated that the building is a separate agreement, not part of the Articles of Agreement.  The municipalities would have to look at the Building Agreement and amend it (or not).  The police department is not a part of that agreement, so the Police Board would not have any role in that discussion unless the four (4) municipalities want them to.
  • Bollinger asked if it would be acceptable if they were to amend the Building Agreement that if the exiting fees are waived for NCT and MT in the Articles of Agreement they would give up their interest in the building. R. Shearer responded that first a proposal for contracting services needs to be submitted, then you can negotiate off of that.  If the building appraisal shows NCT’s share to be between $500,000 – $800,000 they would have to negotiate that. They would have to claim some interest if the department were to dissolve and the building is sold.  They would have to discuss this in detail with their solicitor.
  • There was additional discussion regarding the amount of the penalty for NCT, i.e. $1,000,000 vs. a cost analysis hasn’t been done yet to get a precise number.
  • Tilley pointed out it is the fiduciary responsibility of any municipality and Police Board member to know what the penalty is if it is being waived – it needs to be defined. So far all we have had to work with is an estimate; it would be helpful if NCT shared their calculations.
  • Miller stated that if the exit fee is going away, it doesn’t need to be calculated.
  • Shearer responded that they are trying to make this easy and work this out – why talk about exit fees? L. Miller agreed, why talk about exit fees when they are trying to repair  the department and nobody is leaving?
  • Bollinger stated he was asking for it because it needs to be used as a lever against the value of the building. But if the Board wants to contract services, then we need to move forward with a proposal.
  • Schmidt asked who would draft this proposal, what is the time table? The Budget Committee (elected officials, L. Miller, B. Hilt, R. Shearer, M. Bollinger) would be tasked with drafting the proposal, and it needs to be done asap.
  • What about the changes needed to the Articles of Agreement for a new exit strategy?
    • Tilley stated they would be minimal, and could be accomplished with an Amendment.
    • If the remaining two (2) municipalities want to change the Articles, i.e. requirements of new municipal members, they can do that later.
    • Have the Budget Committee come up with the proposal to contract services, share it with everyone, and once it is agreed upon have the attorneys draw up a legal contract.
  • Hilt stated that if it would save the department SGB would be open to discussing contracting services; M. Bollinger stated HT would probably follow suit.
  • Whyland stated we cannot offer contracting services to a Municipality in order for them to get out of an exit fee. We need a commitment from them.  S. Stambaugh stated you would have to put a term on the contract plus the interest in the building.
  • Tilley stated that since there is already a contract template from Codorus Township, all the Budget Committee needs to do is a cost analysis based on the number of hours (170 for NCT; 65 for MT) and have someone familiar with the scheduling figure out how many officers it would take.
  • Whyland said that is what he and B. Hilt just did to calculate the 2020 budget with the 25% savings. NCT was down to 185 hours, MT 72 hours.

 

Motion by L. Miller, second by S. Stambaugh authorizing the Budget Committee to work on a proposal for contracting services for Manheim Township and North Codorus Township.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

REQUEST FROM BENECON – V. Nickell reported that Jonathan Ebersole, our representative from our health insurance co-op (Benecon), has requested an opportunity to come to the next Board meeting and give a presentation  explaining what happens when we exit out of our contract with them.  He is also working on a proposal that matches the same benefits we received in the quote from Glatfelter Insurance.  The Board directed her to go ahead and have him come to the next Board meeting.

 

BANK ACCOUNT SIGNATURE REGULATIONS – V. Nickell reported that Peoples Bank has a new process for changing the signatories on the bank accounts.  Due to the resignation of Chief Bean, the Board has to pass a motion taking him off and approving the officer taking over his duties.  The motion also needs to approve Scott Stambaugh because as the Board Secretary he is to have the ability to sign checks.  She then has to accompany the new signatories to the bank with a letter stating the Board made the motion to make the change.  The motion will be made after Executive Session, where the Board will discuss who is taking over the Chief’s duties.

 

The Board recessed into Executive Session at 6:57 pm with action to be taken upon reconvening into Public Session.

 

The Board reconvened into Public Session at 7:36 pm.

 

Motion by L. Miller, second by B Hilt to accept Chief Gregory Bean’s offer of resignation effective June 5, 2019.  His last day of work shall be May 15, 2019 and his duties until that time shall be to train Jamie Stalcup to assume the functions of the office of the Chief.  Chief Bean will have no further duties to attend the public meetings of the Police Board or the Municipalities; those functions will be assigned to other department representatives.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Motion by M. Bollinger, second by L. Miller to remove Chief Gregory Bean as a signatory from the Peoples bank accounts and to add Sergeant Jamie Stalcup and Board Secretary Scot Stambaugh.  This is to be accomplished as quickly as possible.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT – R. Smith (MT resident) asked where we are at now.  M. Bollinger replied the Budget Committee is going to be looking at the Articles of Agreement to make the wording more acceptable for Municipalities to contract services and make the department more attractive to bring in additional Municipal Members.  The Personnel Committee is going to start looking at some budget numbers as well as conducting incoming and exit interviews.  The Budget Committee is going to start putting together the numbers for contracting services to NCT and MT.  Was a timeframe set up?  MT has already been waiting for six (6) months.  M. Bollinger replied he understands, they are going to move along as quickly as possible.

 

  1. Snyder, HT resident, asked if the Board was going to pass some kind of Resolution of Appreciation for Chief Bean in recognition of all his years of quality service. M. Bollinger stated that this will probably be done at the next Police Board meeting, May 8th.

 

  1. Ziegler (NCT resident) asked for clarification. Is MT withdrawing from the police department? L. Miller said no.  Then why are you talking about contracting services?   L. Miller replied because it would make things easier.  Then MT is thinking about withdrawing?  No, they are just trying to make things clearer and work smoother, and it appears to him it would.

 

  1. LeFever (NCT resident) commended the Board, stating she was very impressed with the respectful and civil manner in which they conducted themselves tonight. She is very encouraged. M. Bollinger added that no matter how it seems they are getting along, they are all professionals, they can get heated with one another sometimes but they all need to have a professional relationship and be able to communicate.

 

  1. Whyland thanked all the residents for attending the meeting and reminded them to keep coming.

 

  1. Rhimeld (NCT resident) stated contracting hours is a new concept to him – how would that work? What happens if a contracting Municipality has a big event, ie. a murder investigation? M. Bollinger replied that the officers would then scale back on the time they spend patrolling that Municipality until they are caught up on their time count.  It is the same thing we do to manage our time now.
  2. Ambrosius (MT resident) stated that the County comes during big events. A crime lab comes in; they had a murder in their area and the County did the work. T. Crawford (NCT) disputed this statement, saying the County comes in to assist only; the local police department does the actual investigation and has to put all the hours in to solve the crime and attend any and all legal proceedings; the County provides minimal assistance.

 

Meeting adjourned 7:45 pm.

 

Submitted by:

 

V. Nickell

Police Administrator