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Macungie Council Votes to Hire 30-Hour Officer

Macungie Police Chief Edward Harry says he has a candidate in mind.

Macungie Council voted at its Jan. 21 meeting to allow Police Chief Edward Harry to hire another officer who will work a 30-hour week -- almost four 8-hour shifts -- as per the current police collective bargaining agreement.

Money for the hiring was provided in the 2013 budget, but at the time council voted on the budget member Gregory Hutchison said he was not in favor of the hiring. He wasn't any more in favor at the recent meeting.

"I said I would put money in the budget for it, not that I would vote for [hiring a part-time officer]. I still won't," Hutchison said.

Council President Christopher Becker explained the Macungie Police Department's necessity: several full-time officers need time off for medical purposes and someone to cover the shifts is needed.

The added officer will have limited medical benefits and no pension, Becker said before deferring to Mayor Rick Hoffman.

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.

What the mayor could not understand is how boroughs of similar size -- Pen Argyl and Alburtis to be specific -- can provide 24/7 police coverage for their boroughs with only four full-time officers.

He did not know how many shifts are scheduled in either borough, however, nor how many part-time officers are used.

Becker called for a short executive session before council voted on the issue in the hope of avoiding any further legal troubles, and when council reconvened to vote Hutchison asked for a roll call vote.

Council members Hutchison, Jean Nagle and Linn Walker voted against the hiring. Members David Boyko, Joseph Sikorski and Debra Cope voted in favor. Becker broke the tie with his "yes" vote.

Chief Harry said he has someone in mind for the job and will present the candidate's name to council very soon.

Dave January 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I applaud Mr. Becker, the new council President. He got something done in council, something that has been a contentious issue, without petty bickering or squabbles, in a swift and professional manner. I hope that this is not a "honeymoon" between council and it's new President, but rather a sign of the way things will be from now on. Now all we need to do is get rid of the cry-baby "mayor" and wee-wee walker and we could have a model council that serves the town and it's citizens in an upright and professional manner.
Kelly January 23, 2013 at 01:03 PM
This is encouraging however we have lost officers because of this kind of wishy washy council nonsense. Why would you vote for the money in the budget with no intention of voting for the additional officer?? I am hopeful we won't see the retracti of this officers job at the next meeting!!! Council members please follow the new councilresidemts lead!
Matt L. January 23, 2013 at 01:38 PM
"What the mayor could not understand is how boroughs of similar size -- Pen Argyl and Alburtis to be specific -- can provide 24/7 police coverage for their boroughs with only four full-time officers." Really how do they do it... good point. How many officers do you need in Macungie in a borough with 3000 people. You must love paying taxes.
Dave January 23, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Matt, before you comment on an article, make sure you read and comprehend the entire article. You obviously missed the sentence; "He did not know how many shifts are scheduled in either borough, however, nor how many part-time officers are used." So the statement is correct, the "mayor" cannot understand because he does not have all the information in front of him. But that is typical behavior of the "mayor", he opens his moron mouth before he has all the facts and figures to support his statements.
Robert Sentner January 23, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Agreed that Chris Becker seems to keep things moving, but lets not forget about Macungie's latest rock star Debra Cope. Her stirring speech first thing in the meeting before making a motion to make Chris Becker the new council president is what got all of this moving along monday night. And she is the one that pushed for the voting for the hiring of the new officers. kudo's Macungie
Honesty January 24, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Good point Mr. Sentner. So often we overlook the individual who has the courage to step up the plate to get things rolling in the right direction; thank you Ms. Cope. Sometimes that's the hard part although once you get the ball rolling you need a strong leader to keep it moving. From what I hear and see Mr. Becker will do just that. This move should be very encouraging to our residents and community. Even harder than letting go of the past is learning to start all over. We're finally moving in the right direction. Thank you council.
Responsible Citizen January 25, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I totally agree!!!! Debra Cope possesses the courage and strength of character to ALWAYS do what is right for the borough of Macungie!! She IS our unsung hero! Thank you Ms. Cope!!! You serve your position well!

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