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Macungie Council Provides for Fifth Police Officer in 2013 Budget

Council passes budget but not before a surprise reversal from Mayor Hoffman and a pointed exchange of words between the mayor and a council member.

Macungie Council on Monday passed the borough's 2013 budget that provides for no tax hike and the hiring of a fifth police officer to work 32 hours per week.

Christopher Becker, Gregory Hutchison, David Boyko, Joseph Sikorski and Debra Cope voted in favor.

Council President Jean Nagle and Linn Walker voted against the $2.2 million budget mainly due to the police issue.

As the discussion before the vote developed, Becker asked Mayor Rick Hoffman if he would still allow only 25 police shifts to be scheduled per week.

At the Dec. 3 meeting, Becker reported that months of budget discussions and workshops revolved around the fact that members of the Macungie Police Department will have surgery in 2013, and shifts will need to be filled.

Through it all, the mayor stuck by his 25-shift-per-week mandate. Becker referred to the entire issue as a "Pandora's Box."

Monday, however, when -- at the 11th hour -- Becker again asked Hoffman if he planned to stick by the mandate, Hoffman said he would agree to 27 shifts per week.

Becker was incensed. The mayor's easing of the mandate would have made a big difference in the difficulties council members were having trying to cover police shifts, he said.

"I am extremely offended," Becker told Hoffman, "This was discussed at every meeting we've had since September. We went with the 32-hour officer because every time we asked you [to ease the mandate] you said 'no.' "

Hoffman sounded offended, as well.

"You pledged to do what I said with no question, and you went around me," Hoffman said, referring to a written statement Becker read aloud at the first council meeting of 2012.

"I can't veto the [tax ordinance needed to support the budget] because there's no good reason. And I can't veto the budget. You went around me," Hoffman said.

As the discussion continued, Hutchison said he would not voted for a budget that meant he would have to agree to a fifth police officer. Cope reasoned with him, however, and told Hutchison it would be a good idea to pass the budget as presented and debate and possibly approve the hiring at a later date. 

John Rogers December 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Interesting coment by Hoffman. "You pledged to do what I said with no question". Hhhmmmm. Very interesting. It's funny how things come out when people get PO'd isn't it.
My 2 Cents December 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
My question is why are Jean Nagle and Linn Walker even on the council? They seem to be road blocks all the time and never align with the majority of what Macungie residence want. Don't even get me started about why Walker is still holding his position - what a shame and what a joke. I see why he aligns himself with the mayor and not the general public.
Dave December 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Look at the towns of East Greenville and Pennsburg, they just fixed their issues with the police department, bringing all the officers on board, moving the police secretary from 32 to 40 hours and did it all with cooperation and no childish antics from their Mayor and no stupidity from their council members. Why can't we do that here in Macungie? Oh, that's right, we have a three-year-old for a "mayor" and some menmbers of council that forget they are elected to serve the people and not their own petty agenda.
Carl W December 21, 2012 at 06:58 AM
First & foremost: stop MKacugie from being ticket-town!! Police STILL hang out on Main Street, finding anyone they can ticket. That's why I NEVER do business in Macungie. It's a shame. There is a great tavern in center of town, great also for pizza. THEY have evn complained, because your bored cops sit right outside. People fear if accidentally a little too much alcohol, they'll get nabbed, so they just don't go there. Please, I'd like to see your businesses, however, I'm a guy, so I'm a prime target, even though, and perhpas moreso, because I'm Homeland Security!
John Rogers December 21, 2012 at 11:36 AM
I notice that you continuously post on Macungie articles about how ticket crazy the Macungie police are. You also complain about the number of DUI arrests (although I don't know how that is a bad thing). What I would really like to see you do is provide some statistics to back up your claims. PLEASE back up what you say. My guess is that you will be unable to do that. Prove me wrong.

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