Mayor Orders Added Police Protection During Council Meetings

Macungie Mayor Rick Hoffman has ordered that two police officers be on duty on the nights of council's regular meetings.

Macungie Mayor Rick Hoffman has ordered that two police officers be on duty in the borough every time Macungie Council meets.

The mayor has been adamant that the Macungie Police Department will provide 24/7 coverage to the citizens of the borough with 25 eight-hour shifts a week.

Twenty-five shifts -- instead of the 30 provided for in the borough's 2012 budget -- means no more than one officer is on duty at any time, and if an officer is ill or there's a scheduling emergency, Hoffman has said it is acceptable for there to be unfilled police shifts.

And if there are two calls and only one officer on duty, someone is just going to wait, Hoffman has said.

Until now.

In an email dated Sept. 26, 2012 to Macungie Police Chief Edward Harry Jr., the mayor said:

"I would like you to schedule a tac-shift officer on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, beginning with October 1, 2012.

This additional officer should be scheduled to work a 7 p.m. - 3 a.m. shift, and he should be available to be called to Council Meetings if necessary.

In the event that a Council Meeting is rescheduled due to a Holiday, the tac-shift should also be rescheduled.

If you have any questions, or need additional clarification, please let me know as soon as possible since this needs to be started by Monday."

A tac-shift, ("tac" being short for tactical) overlaps two of the three primary shifts. If all 25 shifts allowed in a week are filled and no one takes any time off, four tac-shifts are available per week. Tac-shifts are most often used in the 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. time slots, Harry said. 

Harry's reply said first and foremost that the Macungie Police Department would comply with Hoffman's directive.

But he recounted in his response a question he asked the mayor when Hoffman originally approached Harry verbally with the request.

Any call to council would be answered "in priority of importance based on type of call and responded to accordingly. This was not acceptable with you stating that you did not want to have to wait," Harry's written response said.

It continued:

"Why is it acceptable for any other citizen of this community ... to wait and not you or council? ... One of the reasons citizens have become so frustrated over the years with the borough is the appearance of a double standard. ... the issuance of this order for the stated reasons can accomplish nothing but to solidify that feeling in the community. Do any of us really want the public to think that you and council are entitled to police protection beyond what is provided to them? Or that your and council's safety is any more important than theirs?"

Hoffman was challenged at the meeting by former council member Dorothy Kociuba who asked Hoffman why he needed two officers on duty on a week night.

"The police won't keep order, it's [President Jean Nagle's] job to keep order," Kociuba said.

Hoffman was incensed.

"Why? Because these meetings are not in control. When [Nagle] hits the gavel people refuse to obey. If it continues those people will be asked to leave, and if they don't leave they will be escorted out until decorum returns...until these are run as meetings and not Wild West shows," Hoffman said. 

Vic October 03, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I have to say the people that live within the boro of Macungie really need to do whatever they need to to remove that mayor out and appoint someone to fullfill that position till the next election comes about.I have to agree crime is up and to even think about Hoffmans wants the police dept.to do and schedule is something that is so unreal.The police chief knows more on how to run the police dept.and knows when he needs more officers on duty so let hin control that part not a guy with a positon that calls him mayor.Hoffman I am sure there are alot of resients that can,t wait for u to go so why wait resign asap.
Robert Sentner October 03, 2012 at 12:24 PM
You are freaking kidding me !!!!!!!!!!! Ok that's enough this Bufoon and his jestures need to go. tax wasting Hoffman, queen Nagle, tinkle Walker. Do they realize what a mockery they are making out of Macungie ??? I can see it now Jean slamming the gavel, the mayor asking for one of the many people that questions the royal elite to be arrested and water boarded. these people couldn't run a cub scout meeting Disgusting !!!!!!!!
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 12:34 PM
LOL tinkle walker.
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The Mayor isn't running again. Macungie just needs to find a couple candidates to run. And hopefully it is a COUPLE so the electorate has a choice.. Hoffman ran unopposed.
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM
@Nick do you have data showing that crime "is on the rise in the borough?" Also data that compares crime vs. other borough's with similar size, population and demographics. I'd just be interested to see that. I honestly don't know but would like to see. With crime in general the data and comparables have to be a big part of any discussion. I only say this because in neighboring LMT I've noticed a perception that crime is on the rise but data just doesn't support that. I'd be interested to see the data here. I'm pretty certain the perception stems from having hyperlocal news (HL news is a good thing... heck a great thing!) coverage. So every robbery gets "front page" press in multiple outlets, and again that's NOT a bad thing. It's just a new thing. At least for this community. My point is that statistically in LMT the numbers are in line with similar communities and comparable year over year. Having my business here in the borough I'm interested to see if crime stats have been rising. http://lowermacungie.patch.com/articles/5-things-to-know-about-crime-in-lower-macungie
Dave October 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM
@ RON. You're a great guy Ron, but don't fall for the B.S. The "mayor" won't run again, just like Wee-Boy Walker was going to resign... This council is more full of bull $**T than a barn stall.
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I think both need to happen. Certainly walker should have already resigned and shouldn't run again. The Mayor has the right to run out his term but personally I think him not running again is the right choice. We need fresh faces. Bigger picture.... We really need a recall system in the commonwealth for local officials. PA lacks recall procedures for local officials. I know some people argue we do have that and it's the election cycle.... But in the private sector you don't have to wait 4 years or 2 years to rate someones job performance. Just a thought.
Robert Sentner October 03, 2012 at 01:03 PM
or 6 years for a supervisors. i personally think that is a long time. If for some reason you have a bad apple 6 years is a longgggggg time. You are right Ron there should be some mechanism that allows questionable elected officials to be held accountable.
Robert Sentner October 03, 2012 at 01:05 PM
ok all of this talk, but seriously is anyone working on coming up with a viable mayor and council candidate ??? there is alot of good smart people in Macungie we can do better.
ron October 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM
LOL myself, thats a good one. But im still partial to pee wee walker. All i can say is it either takes a lot of courage or a lot of stupidity for hoffman, nagle, walker and hutchison to sit there and embarrass themselves week after week.
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Regarding the issues, it was the wrong move to push public comment to the end of the meeting. Happy to see it moved back to the front. This past monday I wanted to come and encourage council to attend last night's envision meeting (which was great by the way, residents and business owners attended, lots of great discussion about economic development) but no way I was waiting til midnight to do so. I'm a night owl thats late for me even. With meeting decorum the president MUST maintain order. 5 minutes is plenty of time in fact it's a generous amount of time for the public to come up state their non-agenda concerns and if need be ask for it to be on a future meeting agenda for further consideration. That's the mechanism. That's the protocol. There is a reason every meeting is run under this general principle. It works. Too often things break down to back and forth's, commenters addressing individual council members instead of the president, commenters addressing folks in the crowd, folks in the crowd cat calling commenters, folks in the crowd yelling nonsense out of order, council-people addressing other council-people out of order. ect. ect. It does get out of hand. And I do put this on the President solely for being too loose with protocol. There ARE people who don't go to meetings because they feel it's a threatening environment. Or worse feel as though it's a joke. I know this. I've talked to people who have said this to me.
Ron Beitler October 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
ya I forgot 6 years for supervisor. The old 3 person 2nd class system is a king-maker system. Good situation up in Milford now, but you only have to remember decade ago in LMT to see how things can go terribly wrong in 6 year periods with 3 member boards.
ron October 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
A recall system is needed in PA. Also may i add My comments about mayor hoffman and council members nagle, walker and hutchison are only my opinion on their ability to govern our town. For all i know they may be wonderful people but as public servants and leaders of our town they are terrible and need to be replaced.
Marie preston October 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Marie preston October 03, 2012 at 05:36 PM
jncdd23 October 03, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Well Mr. Sentner reading your comments made me laugh out loud and I had to let everyone in the office know what I was laughing at. I agree 100%! Jean has been on that council as long as I can remember, when I was a girl growing up in this town she was on council and I’m in my 40’s now. It is time for her to move along, not quite sure how she got the president position either! As far as the "mayor" what an idiot. If I had any respect left for that idiot it just went out the door when he basically said he was more important than the rest of us here in town. I was under the impression that we can get him thrown out of his position if he is jeopardizing the safety of the town. Would this not be jeopardizing our safety now? Can’t the chief help us to make it clear that he is putting the well being of Macungie residents in jeopardy now. I would like to know who is in charge of the decision making process of what calls the police consider priority. If I was an officer I would not want that liability of making the wrong choice and for that matter can Macungie Borough really afford the liability when someone sues because they felt their emergency was a higher priority than another?
David October 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
So now the good mayor wants the police department to be his personal "goon squad". This is the same person that ranted about how the police are out of control and violate peoples civil rights. Now he wants a second officer on duty so he doesn't have to wait for a response in the event he wants them to do exactly that. Amazing! In case you haven't heard Rickie, people are allowed to express themselves at public council meetings and are allowed to become irate if necessary. I've been at many of those meetings and have yet to see anyone act in a manner that would necessitate them being removed from a meeting or arrested. Fortunately I have enough faith in the Macungie Police Dept. to feel safe in saying that I don't believe that they will allow you, Queen Jean or any of the other "old guard" members of council to allow them to be used in that fashion. They are far too professional and well trained to fall for that nonsense.
Responsible Citizen October 03, 2012 at 06:39 PM
This is now boardering the RIDICULOUS!! To think that Hoffman, Nagle and their cronies on council have harrassed our MPD and police chief as well as continuous scrutiny as to their value, professionalism and expertise...dragging through the media as well as the courts through litigation is nothing more than HARASSMENT!! Yet suddenly.....they are professional, expertise and valuable enough to GUARD our council and imposter of a mayor from the VIOLENT citizens of Macungie is RIDICULOUS as well as hilarious!! Police Chief Harry is absolutely correct...DOUBLE STANDARD!! It's about time Hoffman, Nagle and the regime make up their minds!! If the police are good enough to protect their sorry a---s then they are good enough to protect the citizens of Macungie 24/7!!!! If there are any residents left who are in support of these clowns, they truly require an analysis of their cognitive abilities!!! Enough said!!
jncdd23 October 03, 2012 at 06:42 PM
One more question. Are these the same meetings that the Mayor says he doesn't have to attend if he so chooses? And the same meetings where he wasn't present for weeks?
john l.long October 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I can"t believe that our Mayor has ordered the Police Chief to assign a Officer in case 1of maybe 10-12 people that show up at the meetings might " get out of hand " to which the President can"t maintain order over the 10-12 people which maybe 5 of them are reporters from differant News Agencys. What a waste of Money being spent when we are not even close to a balance Budget but the Man who is in charge Our Great Mayor who maintains the Boro only needs ( 1 ) Officer on duty Because of all the Mutual Aid that we have all of a sudden we need a " Tack " Officer on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month . WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY SPENT ,Mr.Mayor but that is something you are good at wasting money. I have asked you twice now and now I am ASKING YOU AGAIN PLEASE STEP DOWN , RESIGN FOR THE BETTER-MENT OF THE COMMUNITY.
Guy Ramsey October 03, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Ron, It looks like the data shows crime on the rise but lower than average. http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Macungie-Pennsylvania.html
Guy Ramsey October 03, 2012 at 11:29 PM
PA law permits one referendum on a local ballot: Shall the community establish a home rule charter. If passed the community can write a charter that would hold public servants accountable. But, it is a two edged sword. If the community were held hostage by a corrupt police department, a powerful Mayor would be really helpful. This is clearly not the case in Macungie. The Macungie Police Department is staffed by some of the most loyal and honorable people I have ever known. I did not always agree with them, but at the core of the department, in my experience, their commitment to integrity was beyond reproach.
Ron Beitler October 04, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Thanks for the link Guy. So critical to look at the data. I'm not sure how accurate city data is but I'm confident this is in the ballpark. When we look at crime in general oftentimes the perception doesn't match up with reality. I'm convinced this perception that crime is rising at an alarming rate in LMT and the Boroughs (which data shows it isn't) is because we hear about everything now. When before, unless you got the paper and read the police blotter in the Morning call you really didn't. Now we get Patch and Hyperlocal Mcall headlines. Look at the "top 5 stories" the patch posted via clicks... Top 5 were crime related. They get the headlines because people read that stuff. And again this isn't bad, in fact I believe when people realize say a burglary has occurred locally and folks are aware you get neighbors looking out for neighbors. It's all good. But I'm just contrasting this with a few years ago when the call was the only show in town and covered the entire region... something happened up the street you might not know about it. Only data shows a clear unbiased picture in the case of crime. The data shows that LMT has been relatively steady year over year but on average or below average with comparables and well below national average. Macungie showed slight increase 2009-2012 but according to the city data link there was been a sharp decrease from the mid-2000's to now overall. But compared to Emmaus we're way under and far below national average.
Ron Beitler October 04, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I agree 100% guy. Just as someone who is interested in this stuff and the way local government functions.. the mayors case is/was important. Your right it's absolutely the case that we have a fantastic professional police force here in Macungie as far as I know. I'm talking solely on principle the ruling in favor of the mayor was correct and furthermore was important. I'm uninterested in the motivation cause that ship has sailed. The mayor is not running again. Great opportunity for some fresh faces. Hopefully the community has a choice of a few candidates. The fact is the case happened and I think it's important to affirm citizen control. Now that that's happened... and the principle was reinforced the mayor should have backed off the day to day op. He went WAY over the line with the GPS monitoring. Thats where I sort thought... whoa. What's this guy trying to do here.
Honesty October 04, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Mr. Beitler, I've agreed with you from day one. The real problem is the lack of leadership by council president. Eventually the solicitor, and now the Mayor, will not be by her side to bail her out or should I say intimidate the public with the recent antic of an additional police officer on duty just for council meetings. Not sure you're aware but council member Ms. Cope addressed the council commending you for your article on The Devine School, so keep up the good work.
John Rogers October 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM
What you have here is the same person who accussed the police department of intimidating and harassing the public now attempting to use them to do exactly the same thing!!!! Ole Rickie had not been attending council meetings, saying that he wasn't required. Now all of a sudden, the big sheriff in town is riding into the meetings on his white horse (or Yamaha) to save council from the big, bad public. Mr. Law and Order is going to bring civility to the meetings by threatening to call the police. First of all Rickie, I doubt very highly that the police are going to succumb to your will, particularly if it is beyond the scope of your authority in ordering people arrested or taken from meetings. Secondly, it is my guess that the public who attends the meetings knows this and will not let you intimidate them either with your chest thumping.
Never A Dull Moment October 04, 2012 at 09:20 PM
What difference does it make if there is lengthy public comment at the beginning or the end of the meeting? The meeting will still be very long as evidenced on Monday night. As the chief stated...nothing he has seen or heard at these meetings has come remotely close to being any criminal act. But the "old school marm" and the "principle" think they can expel the unruly students from the building anyway. The loud,passionate attitude of the residents is the result of several years worth of Councils ruling against the will of the people. Can you say police dog? At about 12:45 AM Tuesday morning when the meeting ended, the chief was seen in the parking lot on duty. He apparently was the additional tac shift officer on duty. He had been on duty since 6 AM Monday morning! That shift ended at 3 AM Tuesday morning! Another free shift donated by the Chief? Oh, i forgot, Mr. Hoffman ordered him to stop working for the citizens of Macungie for free!!
john l.long October 05, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I cannot believe all the comments coming in about our Mayor who said at ( 1 ) Time I do not have to attend any meetings if I don't want to , to now saying I don't care how much we are over or under Budget I want a Tech Officer on Duty the nights there are Council Meetings just in case Madam President cannot control the Crowd of maybe "5-10 " Residents there the rest are usually from the differant News Agencys . I would like to Challenge the Fine Citizens of our Boro to come out on Oct.15th and show the Mayor and Council that we can make a Differance in this Town.
Responsible Citizen October 05, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Our police chief has been donating NUMEROUS hours to our borough while this CLOWN HOFFMAN continues to give him preposterous EDICTS to obey or risk suspension while our illustrious council sits on their hands ever since our police chief was hired!!! Bless Police Chief Harry for tolerating this ongoing harrassment, lack of support and disrespect....Macungie is fortunate to still have him!!!
get real October 06, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Stupid is as stupid does !


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