MACUNGIE BOROUGH COUNCIL Resignations topic of interest to residents, council members
A council member who may resign, an office staff member who will resign and a police officer who has resigned led the discussions at Macungie Borough Council's meeting Aug. 6.
Linn Walker, who has served on council since last year, was expected to announce his resignation but was not in attendance at the meeting. To date, Borough Manager Chris Boehm had had no written communication from Walker regarding his pending decision to resign from any or all of his municipal services which include the Planning Commission and the Borough Authority.
On Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4, Walker was seen relieving himself in a neighbor's yard and soon after the police were notified. Since then Walker has been charged with public lewdness, and reportedly announced his intention to resign. By Monday night's meeting, nothing had been formally determined, and although council met in executive session as usual, nothing further was said regarding Walker's position on council.
President Jean Nagle, however, had spoken with Walker, but said, "It was just discussion. It was just his personal issue, it has nothing to do with council. If he resigns we need to appoint someone." Nagle and other members of Council had nothing further to say, Nagle saying only it became council's issue when Walker resigned; until that point, it is his.
The result of council's executive session was to approve and accept with regret the resignation of Doris Horner, assistant secretary/treasurer and borough employee for 20 years. Her retirement is effective Dec. 1. The deliberations were based on a strategic move arranged between council and Horner, whose retirement timed much later could have landed the borough with only one remaining office staff member and the necessity of interviewing and training a new employee.
The budget allowed for the three current positions until July 31, when the building coordinator for Macungie Institute, Karen Holt, would have lost her job. Council had determined Horner would move to the Institute and take over some of Holt's responsibilities. With an unexpected windfall of $29,000 from reinsurance, the borough will be able to retain Holt for five more months.
It was known Horner would retire but not when, and her retirement would have forced the borough to find and train a new person. As the arrangement now stands, Holt is not losing her job and the borough retains two seasoned employees with minimal training time to compensate for Horner's absence.
The one personnel change that garnered minimal discussion was the resignation of part-time police officer Jordan Sonka, who has accepted a position with Upper Saucon Township. Mayor Rick Hoffman, answering statements from those present, confirmed that two or three additional part-time officers would be hired if council approves.
The mayor refused to answer public comments and questions regarding his position on police officers assisting other police departments, although he reiterated he only directed officers to be pulled from DUI checkpoints outside of the borough and the county. He did not impede them from participating in those checkpoints in Macungie. Hoffman asserted that while some of the cost of officers working DUI checkpoints is covered by the county, namely their wages, expenses like court and training costs are not reimbursed, and covering DUI checkpoints therefore costs the borough money.