[This is Part 1 of the December 2017 meeting report. Part 2 will follow in the next edition.]
MILFORD BOROUGH - A standing room only crowd was on hand for the regular monthly meeting of the Milford Borough Council called to order at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 4 by acting president Meagen Kameen.
Borough Solicitor R. Anthony Waldron was not present for the beginning of the meeting and Kameen juggled the agenda of the meeting to allow for his presence at the public comment session which was held to after the regular business session.
Acting President Meagan Kameen read a prepared statement which reflected the increase in public comments over the last three years regarding enforcement laws and that these comments have been brought forth in nearly every public meeting.
The council was been working over the last year to better understand the policing in the borough and decided that a change was necessary to better serve the residents assuring that there would be no lapse in leadership within the police department.
The council looked at filling the position internally, but realized that was not a viable option so they decided to seek out a qualified individual with the requisite experience. Jack DeSilva, who had been under contract as police chief, will remain as a full time police officer with his benefits.
Mayor Sean Strub and the Public Safety Commission recommended to council that Don Quick be placed as acting chief until a suitable candidate can be found. Quick will assume the position of acting chief on January 1st and will be paid $16.50 per hour and $3.50 per hour additionally while serving in the capacity of acting chief for a period not to exceed six months.
Kim Reno, Milford Borough resident, questioned council about the decision to let Chief DeSilva’s contract expire. Acting Council President Kamean stated that the decision was reached in late October or early November in executive session. When pressed for what the borough was looking for in terms of a new chief, Kameen mentioned direction and planning along with administrative skills.
Mayor Strub added that the borough is looking to make residents feel safer by having a visible police presence on the streets, and to not have residents coming to every meeting of council with complaints about enforcement and traffic. Strub also suggested that the new chief will help obtaining grants and funding, as well as recruitment of new officers. Ms. Reno submitted a letter of inquiry regarding the vacant council seat.
Chuck Pranksi from Westfall Township questioned council regarding a post on social media said to be made by Mayor Strub following the election of Donald Trump as POTUS calling for the organization of a committee to expose and shun businesses who supported Trump. Before any response from council, Solicitor Waldron shut him down because is comments were not relevant to the current discussion on police matters.
[Editor’s note: Pranski was recognized later in the meeting during Public Comment, during which he raised this matter again. This discussion will be reported in Part 2 of the report, in the next edition.]
Pranski changed his line of questioning to focus attention on other aspects that may have come into play into explaining Mayor Strub’s listing of enforcement actions over a period of the last three years from November to December which showed a marked decline.
Strub conceded that man hours are down about 15 percent. Pranski then opined that the reason the borough has a hard time retaining officers is that the force is a part time job. New recruits get the required training and then move on because they cannot make a living wage and have no benefits. These new officers do not stay in the community long enough to develop relationships with residents which he sees as a detriment to the part time police force. His options to remedy the problem were to open the department to civil service, or to regionalize.
The Milford Borough Council meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 109 West Catharine Street, Milford. Please visit the borough’s website at www.milfordboro.org for detailed information.