by Jonathan Weaver
For the first time in the police department’s history, Manor Township could be advertising for a full-time police chief.
Following a 2-1 approval during their regular meeting last night, Supervisors Paul Rearick, Bob Southworth and newly-appointed Don Palmer will compose a job description and advertisement for the 40-hour-per-week slot.
Rearick brought the matter up for discussion after current part-time Police Chief Mike Karabin’s monthly report.
“I personally feel it’s time for Manor Township to move forward with a full-time police chief in our township,” Rearick said. “With the way the township has been growing – one of the factors being the new (Armstrong Junior-Senior High School), in the past few years we had quite-a-few businesses move into the township – I want to explore this.”
Southworth opposed the motion, and said it was purely because he wanted to see financial figures before he agreed.
“I need the numbers to work before anything gets done,” Southworth said.
Former Supervisor Pat Fabian supported the possible advertisement, and assured Southworth funding is available.
“Whatever (supervisors) can do to make that happen, I’m endorsing it,” Fabian said. “I think it’s going to bring stability to that department.”
Rearick also was confident in current budget figures.
“The numbers, I think, are there in the budget that I think we can do this,” Rearick said.
Resident Bill McMaster suggested hiring a police administrator or investigator instead at a lesser rate, but Rearick dismissed the idea due to liability concerns.
The suggested positions would not have full-police or arrest powers.
Supervisors will also continue looking for grant options to fund the position.
Filling the other 160 hours per month is a different problem for supervisors.
According to Chief Karabin, the part-time roster has dwindled from a full roster of nine officers to four – including the resignation of Jacob McMaster last month.
Rearick explained that part of the problem is the current part-time officers also have full-time jobs that prevent them from working daylight hours.
“Right now, we allocate 320 hours per month and we’re nowhere near filling it,” Rearick said. “We’re to the point now of hiring again because we’re just not getting the coverage we allocated.
“We’re not even getting the basic coverage we offered before.”
Palmer then made the motion to hire at least two part-time officers. Secretary Jill Davis said she has resumes available in her office of possible candidates.
“We have to do something here,” Southworth said.
That motion was unanimously passed.
In other news, Fabian told Rearick that no vote is currently scheduled for county commissioners to possibly take action on a municipal-wide LERTA tax abatement.
Last month, supervisors unanimously approved the 10-year tax abatement to stimulate residential and commercial growth, but it has yet to be approved by commissioners or the Armstrong School District board directors.
Fabian – who supports the tax abatement program – said a meeting with school directors, economic development and county planners is pending to discuss the matter.
Rearick said he already talked to two school directors since four local building permits have already been submitted. He said he would be available to speak to the rest of the school directors if requested.