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Council Votes 'No' on GPS for Macungie Police Cars

It was very close, but Mayor Rich Hoffman's idea was defeated.

In a very close vote, Macungie Council on Monday defeated a motion to install private GPS systems in borough police cars.

Three council members -- President Jean Nagle, Vice President Gregory Hutchison and Linn Walker -- voted in favor of installing the devices that would have tracked the movements and locations of borough police cars.

Four members -- Debra Cope, Joseph Sikorski, David Boyko and Christopher Becker -- all voted against installing the systems that Mayor Rick Hoffman wanted because he said he needed to be able to monitor it from his home computer or a smart phone at any hour of the day or night so he can better address numerous police complaints residents have made to him.

A brisk discussion that culminated in President Nagle banging her gavel and calling for a 5-minute recess began with questions between council members and the mayor.

Council member Debra Cope, who has been absent for the past several meetings as she was recovering from shoulder surgery, wanted to know what complaints the mayor had received regarding the police, but Hoffman would not specify.

Cope wanted to know why there are no complaints in writing on the record.

"People are afraid," Walker said.

Tim Romig, owner of , addressed council with the suggestion it should consider in which readers voted 362-25 against the GPS units.

"You have to listen to the public. You people better think long and hard before you vote for this," Romig said.

The mayor was not impressed.

"I don't care what they say on the blogs," Hoffman said.

Romig also wanted to know what Hoffman was doing with the money collected to fund the first year of the GPS service contract -- almost $1,200. 

"How does the public scrutinize the handling of the funds? The mayor does not have the ability to tell the truth," Romig said.

Cope again asked to see police complaints in writing, adding that she was confused as to why they were never collected before.

"You haven't been on council long enough," Hoffman replied.

Council members began yelling at each other as Sikorski suggested calling for the vote.

President Nagle called for a 5-minute recess for everybody to calm down.

The 4-3 vote was taken upon their return. 

Hoffman told Patch that he has no plans to re-introduce the idea, and that donors who identified themselves and have a receipt will be refunded any money they donated to the cause.

About $500 was donated anonymously, he said, and that money is being held at Borough Hall.

John Rogers April 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM
The amazing part is that three people voted for the mayors video game. The same people who voted to RAISE your taxes while cutting ONLY police services thought nothing of voting to spend YOUR money even though it was shown that there was overwhelming support AGAINST the idea. And the mayor stated that he doesn't care what the blogs say. They are taxpayers Mr. Mayor. This is why it is so important for GOOD people to go to council meetings, run for office and, by all means, VOTE. Remember who voted for this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.
David April 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Well here we go again with the anonymous and mysterious complaints that no one is ever able to produce. And again with the "they are afraid of retribution" nonsense. How long are we going to keep hearing this stuff? Please show me one person that has suffered retaliation from the police for making a complaint. No one has complained about the police more than the mayor and certain members of council. Have they suffered any retribution? Of course not. And we all know that one particular complaining member of council could be a victim of that suppossed retaliation on a daily basis, but he has never been, has he. I think it is about time to drop that lame argument. No one believes it.
Ron Beitler April 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Obviously I think the patch is great but no, you cannot put too much into patch surveys they are not scientific and it's very easy to vote more than once from multiple computers. . . . BUT in this case I do think the poll accurately reflects the community. All you really have to do is get out and walk around and talk to people. Again, my issue is why does the Mayor need a unit in his home? This makes no sense. Someone tell me his rationale for monitoring at home? I have less of a problem with a unit that is kept at the station. But again, it's redundant with a service provided by the county. And also can't he always call the officer on duty? There should absolutely be oversite of the police dept by the mayor, but how far do you take it? But overall as I've said lets move on.. Please.
Dave April 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Thank God council listened to the people they represent (well some of council). I am sure the "mayor" went home and stomped his feet and cried and sat on the edge of his bed shouting "They'll be sorry when I'm gone" before holding his breath. And what a terrible thing for the "mayor" to say. "I don't care what they say on the blogs." You NEED to care Mr "mayor", "THEY" are the people you were elected to represent and serve. I again request that you resign your "position" and let someone who is passionate about Macungie and the issues facing the town to fill the office. In addition, after you return the money that was donated and it is all accounted for, how about working on getting some money back to the town, you know, the money they had to spend to defend themselves against their own "mayor" What's your next childish antic Mr. "mayor" - an unmanned spy drone to patrol the township so you can sit at home and watch the police move about while you watch cartoons? Grow up and go away, please.
Robert Sentner April 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Haven't been to a Macungie council meeting in a while, WOW is all I can say. Very entertaining !!!!! Council needs to realize that the citizens like it or not can comment and if they want to talk about the same thing they talked about the past week so be it. Passion is a good thing wish more people would have it !!!!!!!!! So Happy that the vote turned out the way it did, and yes lets move on. Was very impressed by some of the council members asking the tuff questions, and standing there ground, we need more of those kind of people.
Kelly April 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
all great comments but how about this council members who supported the mayors nonsense? VOTE THEM OFF!!! They have shown they don't care about the people they are supposed to represent. They are his puppets and work his bidding. Lets move on now.....and hopefully not to another gimmic, and rebuild this community that has been basically raped by this man. These people will never have the guts to vote him out though it seems enough have a backbone to not cowtow to his fantasies. How many days do we still have in bondage to this nut?
ron April 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
GOOD NEWS: 4 council members ( David Boyko, Chris Becker, Joe Sikorski, Debra Cope ) vote for sanity and for saving taxpayer money and vote against paying for the ridiculous plan for the mayor to monitor the GPS system ( that the county already has) from his home! BAD NEWS: 3 council members ( Jean Nagle, Linn Walker, Greg Hutchison ) actually voted for the plan to waste your money and for the mayor to monitor the system from his home. Not surprising these are the same three members who pushed the hardest to limit the time the public has to speak at meetings and who pushed to raise taxes and who make reckless, unfounded, irresponsible accusations directed at the police department even though no evedence, facts or official complaints seem to exist! GREAT NEWS: Rick Hoffman, Jean Nagle, Linn Walker, are all up for re-election next year so if your tired of the nonsense, lies, wasted money and are ready to explore new issues to help our town we have the power to put this behind us and move on FOR REAL!!!!
John Rogers April 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Only one problem with that. Good people have to step forward, get involved and run for office. PLEASE!!!!!!!!
Ron Beitler April 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
@John - How do we find these people?? Thats the million dollar question.
John Rogers April 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
lol...The answer to that would be worth more than a million dollars. I've resorted to begging and pleading. Any other suggestions would certainly be welcome.
Responsible Citizen April 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Well..Well..Well..and why would anyone be so SURPRISED to see WHO on council voted FOR such an insane proposal!!!! These 3 council members..Naugle, Walker, Hutchison have continuously displayed their alliances and sole agenda which is to align with HOFFMAN to annihilate and disband the Macungie Police Dept.! They are ruthless and will continuously resort to lies, empty accusations, slanderous comments and threats to support their INANE ideas and proposals!Their obvious alliance with this empty-headed, so-called mayor is really getting OLD!! They have absolutely NO INTEREST in the progress, stability, safety or growth of this borough! They continuously defy the wishes of the citizens therfore it is time to EJECT them!!!!!! Last night's council meeting was another good example of the typical Macungie Borough Council 3 Ring Circus!!!!!!!!! The yelling, quick-to-pound the gavel, infighting, insanity and obstruction or restriction of public comment is the very reason why NO ONE wants to attend the council meetings or wishes to involve themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHO has that kind of time to waste other than these MORONS representing the citizens!!!!! Unfortunately THEY have entirely TOO MUCH time on their hands and the ability to destroy this community!!!! There is absolutely NO excuse why this small borough cannot seem to progress or move forward. The main reason is the continuous occupation of council seats by these MORONS and CLOWN Hoffman leading the circus!!!
Concerned citizen April 18, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Wow! All excellent community comments. I did run for office this past fall seeking the open two year seat on council but was defeated. Since then I have been asked to continue to seek a position on council or consider running for mayor. Interesting times... I'm ready for positive change and improving our community. Good times are ahead Macungie.
Macungie Resident April 19, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Of course Tim Romig spoke up since he is buddies with all the cops. He allows them to park in the back of his lot and supposedly "patrol" Rt. 100 from 500 yards away hidden behind other cars. Or I have passed by his place while he is chatting with the officers with their cars running wasting gas which is paid for by MY TAX MONEY for 30, 40, 50 minutes even an hour.
BarNone Weddings∆™ April 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I'm not totally sure, but I always assumed police leave their cars running all the time because they need too. I would imagine the computer systems and electronics in them take alot of juice that warrants the car running. Maybe thats naive. But again, just a guess. Thats what I always assumed. It would be interesting to know the answer.
John Rogers April 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I believe you are correct but let's wait for Macungie Resident to answer that. He seems to know everything about what the police should be doing, how they should be doing it and why they should be doing it. To bad it's clouded by the obvious axe he has to grind. And how dare Romig be buddies with the cops. What nerve!!! Just remember everybody, if you are friends with the cops, Macungie Resident will gun for you too!!!!
John Rogers April 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Wow!!!!! 500 yards away!!! Didn't know Romig's lot was that big. Let's see now. If I remember my elementary school math correctly, 500 yards, in my opinion, would be somewhere on the other side of Locust St. Or let's try this. 500 yards would be 5 football fields end to end. I wonder if Romig knows that he owns a lot that is over a quarter mile long!!
Carl W May 22, 2012 at 09:28 PM
That's one of the MANY flaws of the Morni9ng Call/ Muhlenberg Colleges surveys. Sociology essentially teaches us the best & more accurate surveys come from the more varied locations & methodologies. These people phone "577" phones - three of those may be my own!!

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