Springdale Borough, PA Police Dept. Adds 3 Part-Time Officers

From The Tribune-Review by Brian C. Rittmeyer, March 19, 2014

Days after coping with a shortage of police officers, Springdale Council on Tuesday approved bringing on more part-time help.

Council hired three part-time officers, but also accepted the resignation of one part-timer.

Hired were Shaun T. Ewing, David C. Ernst and Steven P. Wellington, contingent on passing required testing.

Because questions were raised over whether the officers had to be hired through the civil service process, they were technically hired as extra police to serve as-needed.

The three officers were hired unanimously except for Ewing. Councilman John Molnar voted no, saying he was not familiar with him.

Council accepted the resignation of part-time officer Matthew Mays, who in his resignation letter said he no longer had the time to devote to Springdale because of a promotion at his full-time job.

With the changes, the borough’s police department has five part-time officers and three full-timers, including police Chief Julio Medeiros.

Late last week, the borough had none of its own police officers on duty for the overnight shift Thursday into early Friday morning, and brought back retired police Chief Joe Naviglia to patrol the town during the day Friday.

The shortage was blamed on a full-time officer calling off sick, and no part-time help being available. Medeiros was out of town.

Councilman Michael Ziencik said the part-time hires should help the mayor and chief with filling the schedule.

But Mayor Ken Lloyd said it’s not enough.

“I need five full-time officers, and I need my police chief,” Lloyd said.

Funding for hiring a full-time police officer was removed from the borough’s budget during cuts early this year. Questions were raised over that after Molnar said the borough needs a new dump truck, money for which had also been cut from the budget.

Molnar proposed the borough trade in two old trucks in poor condition and buy one new one. Councilman James Zurisko reminded him that money for the vehicle had been removed from the budget.

“It’s not a luxury item,” Molnar said. “It’s a necessity.”

Councilman Jason Fry said funding was cut for other things considered necessities by some, including a full-time police officer, and it wouldn’t be right to pay for one and not the other.

Molnar said money from the borough’s water fund, which he said totals $740,000, could be used to pay for a truck.

Lloyd said he was shocked to hear there was that much money in the water fund, and asked if any of it could go into the borough’s general fund and toward hiring full-time officers.

After Zurisko noted the truck is not needed for spring, Council President David Finley said the borough could wait until June or July to consider the issue again.

“We have more trucks than we do employees,” Finley said.

Councilman Gene Polsinelli said the borough should have replace trucks on a regular schedule, as it does with police cars, so it doesn’t get stuck with old vehicles with little to no trade-in value.

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