Lehigh County Judge Michele Varricchio's Sept. 15 decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Macungie Mayor Rich Hoffman was the first topic of conversation at the Sept. 19 council meeting.
“I’d like to get all of this behind us,” Hoffman said.
settled a dispute between the mayor, the borough, and Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin.
The dispute resulted from events leading up to Harry denying the mayor access to department work schedules because Harry felt such information in untrained hands could put officers in danger. Martin’s office stepped in when it appeared the mayor wanted access to records he’s not entitled to see.
, who is running for a seat on council in November, addressed council with a question, “What will happen next with the fight between the police chief, borough and the mayor? Are you going to be wasting more money—what’s going on?”
But the answer wasn't clear.
“We plan to work with the mayor. There is a period of time where there is a potential for appeals, and council doesn’t have to make a decision now. We’ll keep our options open during the appeals process, since we don’t know what will happen,” Council President said.
Hutchinson questioned what could be appealed. Ramsey told him he would have to read the judge’s findings on the case since there were several parties to the lawsuit and some of the parties may want to appeal the ruling.
“Does council now realize that the mayor is in charge of the police force?” Hutchinson asked.
“I think we always realized that,” Ramsey said, “The judge says the mayor has full access to the police department, so we got a judgment from this judge regarding that matter, and now we will faithfully move forward under the law.”
Mayor Hoffman responded to the case saying, “The court case has been settled — I’m glad. We can move forward. There’s one or two sticking points, yet, but other than that, I’d like to get all of this behind us and just move forward. Enough of this for almost two years. Let’s just hope it’s over.”
Hoffman declined to identify what he meant by "sticking points."