In a split vote on Monday, Macungie Council made the hiring of a 30-hour-per-week police officer a reality.
As of Feb. 4, Richton Penn, 28, who has been working with Macungie Police since June 2012 was named to the much debated position.
At the Jan 21 meeting council voted to fill the position due to extended absences of some Macungie officers who are facing some medical issues.
However, like the Jan. 21 meeting, the Feb. 4 meeting was not without contention.
Council members Jean Nagle and Gregory Hutchison voted against filling the position and hiring Penn.
Once the vote was taken, Nagle said she did not think that using a 30-hour officer was the way to deal with the absences facing the Macungie Police Department this year.
Council President Christopher Becker immediately shut her down.
"Tonight we are voting on the individual, the person. The discussion about the position is over. I'm concerned about not sending a good message to this person," Becker said. He went on to say that his concern was that the newly approved officer might think council had a problem with him, which is not the case.
"The ayes have it," Becker said, "This was not a debate about the issue. This was about the person."
As discussed, Penn will have limited medical benefits and no pension.
Mayor Rick Hoffman had mandated throughout 2012 that there would be no more than 25 police shifts scheduled per week. At the end of the year he raised that limit to 27 shifts due to the upcoming medical absences.