Punxsutawney Police Department Salary Raise Discussion Heats Up | New
PUNXSUTAWNEY – The discussion over the salary increase for the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department turned heated Monday night at the rescheduled Punxsutawney council meeting.
Police Chief Matt Conrad mentioned in the Public Safety Committee report that he had the addendum to the Teamsters 110 deal on police department salaries. He said it had already been signed by the Teamsters, but needed to be approved and signed by the Borough to move forward.
“The change to article eight section five. Any employee after September 1, 2021 should receive a starting base salary of $ 38,000. Then, after one year of probation, the salary should be increased to $ 41,000. This is what we discussed previously, ”said Conrad.
Lawyer Nicholas Gianvito said he was advising the council against taking action on the item because it was not on the agenda. Under the new Sunshine Act amendment, the meeting agenda must be posted 24 hours before a meeting and include any matters that will be discussed or official actions taken during the meeting. The amendment also prohibits a board of directors from taking action on an issue not on the agenda, unless it is an emergency involving “a clear and present danger to life. or goods ”.
Borough manager Toby Santik tried to argue that the action was a matter of urgency because of its connection to the police department and public safety.
“Having an understaffed police department leaves us open, and considering that it also increases the chief’s overtime, I think we’re within the confines of Senate Bill 554,” Santik said.
Gianvito said he was acting “overly cautiously” and did not want the board to be sued for violating the new law from the start.
Conrad then said he could still address some of the other issues discussed regarding the pay rise at last month’s meeting. He was absent by military order and was only called briefly on the phone to address the council at the previous meeting.
He explained that he was the one who approached the board, not the Teamsters 110. He then said that a board member approached him later to try to open his contract, which he found. “very inappropriate”.
“The second thing I would like to touch on is Mr. (Larry) Chenoga, you said last month that the budget was $ 1.5 million. You’re about $ 700,000 off, ”Conrad said.
He then referred to Chenoga’s comment that it is unfair for the taxpayer to take this increase because he and many other residents have fixed incomes.
“Do you know what I find unfair?” Is for borough residents to continue to pay your legal fees. Over $ 7,000 in 2019, $ 5,000 in 2020 and since the start of the year in 2021 you have up to $ 14,000, ”Conrad said.
Conrad also addressed Chenoga saying that the public works contract should be opened if the police contract is going to be opened. According to Conrad, Chenoga has previously said public works is not worth $ 13 an hour. This is how he ended his statement.
The council held a special meeting on Friday to discuss the police contract, rather than wait another month.
After the meeting, Conrad said he found the alleged legal fees he referred to through his own research into attorney fees for Campbell Durrant, PC, who is the borough’s labor attorney.
“And he (Chenoga) wants to tell everyone that it’s not fair for taxpayers to pay $ 5,000 to increase the starting salary of a borough patroller who can go elsewhere and earn 10,000 or more. $ 15,000 more than starting salary. Everything I try to be is comparable to other boroughs, ”said Conrad.