When Macungie Council convenes its meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Macungie Institute, it will already have met in executive session for at least 30 minutes according to the agenda published on the borough's website.
A second executive session, at which council members are permitted to discuss personnel, litigation and a restricted few other topics, will be held at the end of the meeting, as well, according to the agenda.
However, there is no mention of the latest hot-button issue: 24/7 police coverage.
At its last meeting, to suggest to the Mayor Rick Hoffman -- who recently indicated -- reconsider his position that leaving some shifts without coverage by a Macungie police officer is acceptable.
But no action could be taken because the mayor did not attend the June 4 meeting.
Tonight's agenda indicates he will attend to swear in members of the Civil Service Commission.
Discussion two meetings ago on May 21 involved the suggestion that Hoffman, Macungie Police Chief Edward Harry and Borough Solicitor Patrick Armstrong meet to discuss 24/7 coverage.
But Armstrong said at the June 4 meeting that the mayor cancelled the meeting because he felt it would not be productive.
Recent emails from the mayor to the police chief, collected through a right-to-know request made by borough business owner Tim Romig, reinforce the mayor's sentiments regarding 24/7 coverage. The emails were unredacted, meaning there was information in them -- the mayor's home email address -- that should not have been released. Also note that the dates of the emails do not necessarily coincide with dates of council meetings.
April 20 from Mayor Hoffman to Police Chief Harry:
"Chief Harry I understand that you want borough counsel (sic) to give you a directive on 24/7. I have already talked to borough counsel and gotten their answer which I have told you. This is an executive session item and may not be brought before the public, it is also not subject to right to know. From now on all right to know requests given to your office must be reviewed by Chris Boehm before being released. I am going over the schedule to see if you missed a way to do it without empty shifts."
May 11, 3:02 p.m. from Mayor Hoffman to Police Chief Harry:
"Chief, as of today any open shifts that cannot be filled by moving an officer from a tach shift or putting in a part timer is to remain an open sift, you are not to fill it with over time or comp time which is a form of over time, with out my approval. This directive will absolve you of all responsibility for the open shift. I expect this to be followed immediately."
May 11, 3:27 p.m. from Police Chief Harry to Mayor Hoffman:
"Just to be clear. I have not filled in any open shifts with overtime. I do disagree that comp time is overtime. Comp time costs nothing. In the event you did not know, comp time can be carried over from one year to the next. It does not have to be paid out at the end of the year....
As long as you have put it in writing that I bear no responsibility for an open shift and you will take the responsibility, then I am fine with that. That is all I have asked for from the beginning. This way, I will not bear any repercussions from the public or borough council in the event of an open shift where assistance is needed and none is available...."
May 14, 2:18 p.m. from Mayor Hoffman to Police Chief Harry:
"Chief, I have seen on some time sheets that we are still having some overtime due to magistrate court. I remember talking to you about this, would you make sure officers are on day shift anytime they are scheduled for the magistrate. Also, due to the limited number of shifts I don't see why we are still doing check points. Even though we do get reimbursed for the time I don't feel we have the manpower or the shifts to do this."
May 14, 2:35 p.m. from Police Chief Harry to Mayor Hoffman:
"The district court attemts to schedule hearings when officers are working but it is not always possible. They are also scheduled to appear in other district courts as witnesses for other departments cases. Those courts schedule based on the arresting officers schedule, not ours. If you are telling me to change officers to day shift for magistrate court, that will create many more problems than it will solve. The biggest problem is who will work the offers original shift if I move them. With the limited number of shifts you want scheduled, that will be a near impossibility. I am having enough trouble juggling shifts for vacations, etc. due to your scheduling directive limiting shifts.
As far as the DUI checkpoints, if you want to deny officers being able to participate in DUI checkpoints or us sponsoring DUI checkpoints, then I would ask that you write a formal directive ordering that. Before you do that, you may want to reconsider that order. It is a near certainty that the union wil file a brievance if that order is issued. You may also want to consider how that will make you look if you order that officers are no longer allowed to participate in DUI enforcement events when it does not impact our budget or schedule."