by Jonathan Weaver
Ford City Borough Police’s Officer-in-Charge is one step closer to becoming the newest Police Chief.
Councilwoman Beth Bowser made the motion for Officer Michael Greenlee’s promotion, seconded by Councilwoman Kathy Bartuccio.
“I think (Officer Greenlee’s) making a big improvement in the community. He loves the walk to check out the community, meet the business people,” Bartuccio said. “He’s been a real asset so far to our community and I think he’ll just improve it – I think he will.”
Except for an abstention, the motion was unanimously supported by Council.
Solicitor Anthony Vigilante said the hire is interim pending execution of a new contract upon negotiated terms.
Borough Council President Carol Fenyes identified all the benefits council members will negotiate with.
“The package that we agreed to was a three-year contract, $50,000 annually, a six-month review and then annual (review), annual increases tied to measurable milestones or goals, two weeks vacation, holidays the same as the borough, a $500 uniform allowance, full benefits, pension, three personal days and five sick days, Fenyes said.
“You have to take into consideration the credentials of the person you’re hiring – the length of his service, his previous history – and we’ve taken that all into consideration. As of the first of December, we would have to take a look at the new labor laws that would go in-effect for exempt employees- which he would be an exempt employee. Based on all of those parameters, we felt it would be better to go with a $50,000 (salary) at this point.”
Any contract revisions would have to be brought back before full Council.
Fenyes said three applicants were interviewed last week, including Officer Greenlee, West Kittanning Borough and East Franklin Township Officer Robert Gahagan and retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Kenneth Markilinski.
While he said the three interviewed had “excellent credentials,” Borough Councilman Marc Mantini abstained from the vote since he did not attend last week’s interviews.
Borough Mayor Jeff Cogley credited Officer Greenlee with soliciting funds from local businesses to replace outdated tasers.
“It is overwhelming the money that’s coming in,” Mayor Cogley said. “We’re going to be able to get our new tasers. We have a lot of support.”
Former Council President Jerry Miklos argued the police department restructure was to save taxpayers money, not to restart the process.
“The idea was to hire a police chief not with benefits, not with retirement. (Council’s) starting down that same path – it cost us a fortune,” Miklos said.
Fenyes argued the negotiated-wage would be less than that of a Kittanning Borough Police patrol officer, as well as that the new parameters would hopefully keep a chief longer-term – as opposed to former Police Chief Roger Wright, who resigned less than five months into his service.
Out of six applicants, the three candidates were interviewed Monday, Sept. 19 before an executive session to discuss personnel Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Officer Greenlee was originally hired as a Ford City part-time officer in April before being promoted to Officer-in-Charge in mid-August.
During the report of August activity, Officer Greenlee reported 340 total arrests were made during the month, as well as the issue of 277 parking tickets. Nearly $2,300 was generated via those tickets.
Ford City Borough Police responded to the majority of police calls as opposed to the Pennsylvania State Police – 209 versus six.
Advertisements were also approved for a part-time Borough Secretary, part-time Police Administrator, part-time and temporary public works employees and part-time police officers.
The Borough also signed a letter of intent to ask for assistance from the Department of Community and Economic Development to hire a possible Borough Manager and a Public Works Superintendent.
An executive session to discuss litigation immediately was held following the meeting.