Springdale Borough, PA Police Political Dispute Between Mayor and Council Continues

New Job Description for Chief of Police May Not End Disputes

From The Tribune-Review by Brian C. Rittmeyer, April 10, 2014

A newly written job description for Springdale’s police chief appears unlikely to resolve disputes between the mayor and council over what the chief’s job is supposed to entail, and to whom the chief is supposed to answer.

Nor is it likely to please police Chief Julio Medeiros, who has said he wouldn’t have taken the job had he known he’d be a police officer with a chief’s title, which is how the job description appears to cast him.

The borough has prepared an ordinance establishing the duties of the police chief — nearly a year after Medeiros was hired and about six months after he was sworn in.

The borough placed a legal notice in the Valley News Dispatch on Tuesday stating that council will “possibly act” upon it and another ordinance increasing fees for street openings at its April 15 meeting. The notice was placed seven days in advance of the meeting, the minimum required.

However, the notice may be legally insufficient because it does not say anything about the ordinances being available for the public to see them before the meeting, as required by the Pennsylvania Borough Code.

Proposed ordinances are public records, and the borough code requires that the public be given a chance to inspect them before approval, according to Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

“The public notice provision of the borough code is not met if the borough does not comply with all the law’s requirements,” Melewsky said. “The ad in question here seems to be deficient because it lacks information about where the public can review a full copy of the ordinance.”

The borough did not file the full text of the ordinance in the Allegheny County Law Library, as the borough code also requires.

“These deficiencies could lead to liability and invalidation of the ordinances if a citizen files a legal challenge,” Melewsky said. “Only a judge can determine if the law hasn’t been followed, but it’s clear to me that there are issues with the public notice in this case.”

The borough office on Wednesday provided a copy of the proposed street excavation ordinance.

The office was unable to immediately provide a copy of the police chief ordinance. Borough Solicitor Craig Alexander emailed it to the Valley News Dispatch after business hours on Wednesday.

“The people of Springdale are entitled to full, fair and complete notice of ordinances borough council proposed to pass,” said David A. Strassburger, an attorney for Trib Total Media, parent company of the Valley News Dispatch. “Notice was deficient here because the full text of the ordinances was not published and the ads did not explain where to inspect the full text of the ordinances. One of the ordinances seemingly was not available for inspection as required by law.

“Council should defer taking any action until it complies with the notice requirements of state law.”

Alexander could not be reached for comment on Thursday to answer questions about the ordinance or its advertising. He did not respond to a phone call nor email.

Mayor Ken Lloyd said Thursday he had not seen the ordinance pertaining to the police chief’s job description. Medeiros did not return a call for comment, nor did borough Council President David Finley.

When the borough was searching for a new police chief, it said in advertising that it was looking for a “working chief of police.”

Council members have previously said the borough can’t afford the luxury of a police chief who is strictly an administrator.

Chief wants time to develop police policies, procedures

Medeiros has said his time needs to be spent developing policies and procedures for the department, which has been rocked by repeated scandals involving its officers.

In the proposed ordinance, the police chief’s position is described as “including both administrative and day-to-day working police functions,” and that the chief works “in the administration and supervision of the police department, as well as performing normal police duties.”

The proposed ordinance lists 34 “essential duties and responsibilities of the chief of police.”

Among them is the requirement for the chief “to work a regularly scheduled shift and routinely patrol during each assigned shift,” and to “periodically work various shifts to maintain familiarity with personnel, conditions and situations at various times of the day….”

The chief is also required to “perform all essential functions of a police officer including performing the duties of subordinate personnel as needed.”

While Medeiros has said he likes being out on the street, Mayor Lloyd said, “This isn’t what he was hired to do.

“He was hired to change and redo this police department.”

Lloyd and council also have clashed over control of the police department, including oversight and supervision of the chief.

The ordinance states that the chief reports to the mayor and to council, and that the chief “reports to the mayor and is responsible to council” to perform the listed duties and responsibilities.

Citing the borough code, Lloyd said he, as mayor, is in charge of the police department.

“The law is the law,” Lloyd said. “The mayor is in charge of the police department. You can’t negotiate and override what the law says.”

Proposed Springdale Borough Police Chief’s Job Description

BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE

ORDINANCE NO. ________ of _________

 AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, CONFIRMING THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF POLICE OF THE BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE; DECLARING THE PURPOSE AND DEFINING THE ESSENTIAL DUTIES OF THE POSITION.

WHEREAS, the Borough of Springdale has previously established the position of Chief of Police of the Springdale Police Department; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 6125 of the Borough Code, 53 P.S. §466125, Council for the Borough of Springdale may, by ordinance, establish the duties of the Chief of Police.

WHEREAS, Council for the Borough of Springdale desires to set forth by Ordinance duties and description of the Chief of Police of the Borough of Springdale; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED and it is hereby ordained and enacted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Springdale, at a duly convened meeting, quorum present as follows:

 SECTION I: CONFIRMATION OF THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF POLICE:

• The position of Chief of Police is hereby confirmed by Council of the Borough of Springdale. The Chief of Police, pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Borough Code shall report to the Mayor, as the Chief Law Enforcer of the Borough of Springdale and to Council of the Borough of Springdale or such other person or committee as may be designated by ordinance or resolution of Borough Council as permitted under the Borough Code.

 SECTION II: GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

• The Chief of Police is an appointed, non-union non-civil service departmental head position including both administrative and day to day working police functions. The Chief reports to the Mayor and is responsible to Council to perform the essential duties and responsibilities as set forth herein. The Chief performs highly responsible work in the administration and supervision of the Police Department, as well as performing normal police duties. The work involves coordination, supervision and performance of all police functions and services to the community. The Chief’s work is reviewed through reports, observations and/or periodic reviews by the Mayor and Council, conferences and results obtained. The Chief may exercises independence and latitude in making decisions and exercising judgment provided that he does so in accordance with the responsibilities and duties set

forth herein. This position is a salaried (non-hourly) position that may result in working in excess of 40 hours per week without provision for compensatory time, unless specifically agreed to by Council in a separate writing, such as a Chief’s Contract..

 SECTION III: PURPOSE OF THE POSITION:

• The Chief of Police shall be the chief executive of the police department for the Borough of Springdale, subordinate to the Mayor and shall be responsible for all operations of the police department.

• In addition to the police powers prescribed by law, the Chief shall be responsible for all administrative functions of the police department, preparing and regulating the budget for the police department, the supervision of all subordinate officers and other employees, establishing and maintaining a work schedule and ensuring that all provisions of the police contract, as well as all Borough policies and procedures are observed.

• The Chief of Police shall authorize vacation and other legitimate leave, direct and authorize all training, and direct police services in an attempt to provide the greatest protection and security for the residents of the Borough.

• The Chief of Police is responsible for establishing and enforcing departmental policy, keeping all departmental employees informed and abreast of all changes, updates and/or modifications in the law and/or relevant policy, directives, etc., effecting disciplinary action when necessary and in accordance with applicable laws and Borough ordinances, policies and procedures.

 SECTION IV: ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE:

The duties and responsibilities of the Chief of Police for the Borough of Springdale, in addition to those set forth in Section II, which shall be deemed essential duties and responsibilities, include but are not limited to the following:

• Shall be the principal administrative officer of the police department, under the supervision of the Mayor and responsible to Borough Council pursuant to the provisions of the Borough Code, and shall be responsible for supervising all personnel, functions and operations of the department, including the training of new hires.

• The governing body and the Chief shall have full authority to enforce all laws, regulations, rules, mandates, procedures, directives, and provisions of the police contract and special requests and/or instructions from the Mayor, Council or other competent authority with regard to the police department.

• Maintain control over the assignments, deployment, scheduling, special details, transfers, etc. of all officers in the police department in accordance with law, borough ordinances, directives and/or the provisions established by the police contract and the funds budgeted by Council for the department.

• Responsible for the timely execution of all applicable Borough directives, procedures and policies, as well as the completion of all special assignments from the governing body.

• Review and supervise expenditures of appropriations to the Police Department in accordance with funds budgeted by Council and to make recommendations to the Mayor and/or Borough Manager through budget requests regarding the need for additional officers, equipment or other needs.

• Prepare and submit a monthly police report to the governing body.

• Develop, issue and maintain a comprehensive department manual, addressing every major function, regulation, directive, procedure, requirement and general policy of the police organization. A particular effort will be made to establish policies, approved by Council, that will create an efficient and safe working environment, prevent liability to the Borough or its officials, insure public safety, address emerging concerns and allow for an effective day-to-day operation.

• Responsible for reviewing, updating and implementing the provisions of the manual on a regular basis.

• Develop, present and administer the annual operating budget for the police department. Establish adequate controls over expenditures and the monitoring of disbursements over the course of the fiscal year. Utilize available funds in a manner that provides for the most effective police service possible in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Assist the governing body in the planning of long range capital purchases and provide an anticipated five-year capital purchase schedule during every budget preparation period.

• Responsible for the care and supervision of the Department fleet, police equipment and uniforms.

• Responsible for all department record-keeping, including the maintenance, organization, storage, retrieval and utilization of departmental records and assure that all applicable laws and directives regarding such records are properly followed.

• Responsible for maintaining the integrity of the evidence room and assuring that all applicable laws and directives regarding recordkeeping and disposition of property/evidence are properly followed.

• Organize, direct, control and deploy all resources of the department in a manner which will provide for the safety and well being of the citizenry, the preservation of the peace and harmony of the community and to enforce all applicable laws, mandates and proclamations. In addition, make every effort to create and coordinate a plan with all affected agencies that will endeavor to protect lives and property during any natural or man-made disaster.

• Plan and execute a police service program, based on an analysis of crime trends, emerging problem areas, actual need, etc., designed to prevent and repress crime, apprehend and prosecute offenders, allow for the safe and expedient movement of the citizenry, provide for the public safety and the harmony of the community.

• Oversee the general inspection and supervision of all public places within the community and cause the laws and ordinances concerning such places to be obeyed.

• Maintain an active, productive alliance with other local police agencies, appropriate Allegheny County agencies and institutions, professional police authorities and training facilities, in an effort to improve and/or advance the administration of law enforcement and/or to provide for the safety and well being of the community. Ensure the prompt reporting of pertinent information to all affected agencies, regardless of jurisdiction and/or geographic location.

• Responsible for establishing and executing an effective and comprehensive training program for all employees. Recognize and identify special abilities or needs and provide appropriate advanced or remedial training as necessary or desired.

• Conduct regular staff meetings in an effort to apprise employees of departmental and borough activity, policy and direction.

• Shall at all times remain informed of the affairs of the department and be assured that the duties of his/her subordinates are properly discharged. Oversee continuous staff inspection as a part of a comprehensive and relevant performance evaluation in accordance with departmental policy and procedures.

• Responsible for responding to grievances and for all departmental disciplinary action and shall initiate such action for any member who violates any law or disregards or violates departmental policy. Disciplinary action shall be taken in accordance with the Borough Code and any police contract currently in effect at the time, other policies and procedures established by law.

• Establish acceptable standards and follow Borough policies for recruitment, selection and promotion of department members and employees. Establish and implement procedures for recognizing outstanding performance by department employees.

• Prepare and submit monthly reports to the Borough Mayor and Borough Council regarding the Department’s activities and prepare a variety of other reports as appropriate.

• Attend council approved conferences and meetings to keep abreast of current trends in the field; represent the Borough Police Department in a variety of local, county, state and other meetings and/or functions.

• Cooperate and maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with county, state and federal law enforcement agencies where activities of the police department are involved.

• To work a regularly assigned shift and routinely patrol during each assigned shift.

• Periodically work various shifts to maintain familiarity with personnel, conditions and situations at various times of the day without adversely affecting the hourly payroll of the department, unless prior, written permission from Council is obtained.

• Cooperate with and respects the authority of other Borough departmental managers, employees and elected or appointed officials in their respective areas of duties and responsibilities.

• Maintain open line of communication and works effectively with Borough Manager Borough employees and elected and appointed officials.

• Periodically organize and hold community service events involving education and safety and actively attends public functions and events involving community groups and other public relation endeavors as often as possible.

• Perform all the essential functions of a police officer including performing the duties of subordinate personnel as needed.

• Provide to Council, through the Borough Manager, a copy of the shift schedule as soon as it is posted or otherwise provided to subordinate officers.

• Possess within 45 days of hire and continue to maintain active MPOETC certification.

• Possess and maintain valid Pennsylvania Drivers License.

• Perform other work-related duties as assigned by the Mayor, Borough Council or such other person or committee as may be designated by ordinance or resolution of the Borough Council.

 SECTION V: DISCLOSURE:

• The duties, responsibilities and descriptions listed in this ordinance are not intended to be all inclusive of the essential duties and responsibilities of the Chief of Police nor inclusive of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position. If other work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position, it may be considered an essential duty and responsibility as well. This position description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and the employee and is subject to change by the employer as may, from time to time, be determined by Council for the Borough of Springdale.

 SECTION VI: SEVERABILITY:

It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Council of the Borough of Springdale that the several provisions of this Ordinance are separable. If any Court of competent jurisdiction shall declare any words, sentences, sections or provisions of this Ordinance to be invalid, such a ruling shall not affect any other words, sentences, sections or provisions of this Ordinance not specifically included in said ruling.

 SECTION VII: REPEALER:

All ordinances or parts of ordinances, which are inconsistent herewith, are hereby repealed.

 SECTION VIII: EFFECTIVE DATE:

This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its approval in accordance with the Borough Code.

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