MACUNGIE BOROUGH COUNCIL Becker to assume the presidency of Macungie Borough Council
Councilwoman Debra Cope began the Jan. 21 meeting with a statement about the direction of Macungie's Council. As a newer councilwoman, Cope said she has observed negativity, resentment and other negative behaviors.
Cope suggested council should think about where they are heading. She said she would like to see more transparency and more understanding about changes and explained changes bring about risk but are part of the process.
Cope nominated Chris Becker as the new president as, what she described as, part of this new beginning. Councilman Dave Boyko agreed with the nomination and said "Becker is more proactive than reactive."
Becker said he considers the nomination an honor.
Riley Ockerman, a soon-to-be Marine reservist, expressed interest in serving on the Civil Service Commission. Ockerman was appointed to the commission at Monday's meeting.
Pennsylvania DEP awarded Macungie a performance grant for the 2010 recycling program. Macungie received $6,154 for collecting 444 tons of recyclables.
Solicitor Patrick Armstrong said there is a possible zoning amendment for regulation of clothing bins. Presently there are six of them north of the railroad tracks to the borough line.
Armstrong also said the GPS system for the police officers has been denied due to unfair labor practices. Further investigation is being done and council members said they will check with other municipalities.
Mayor Rick Hoffman said Bethlehem, Plainfield Township and Pen Argyl are some examples of communities using a GPS system.
Hoffman requested a report on the K-9 department. Corporal Mullin is on vacation so there was no report.
There is a Lehigh County E-recycling event in April. Televisions, computers, fax machines and air conditioners are among items that can be recycled. With this announcement came a reminder these types of items can no longer be picked up with the trash.
There are several vacancies on various committees. The Zoning Hearing Board has one opening. The Civil Service needs an alternate. The Planning Commission has one opening and the Macungie Institute Board of Trustees has one opening.
The street micro-surfacing plan at Village Walk has had some cracking in the surfaces. Further investigation about other forms of coating will be done before more projects are completed. Sycamore Street had micro-chipping done with no problems.
To save money for the borough, the solicitor will only come to the first meeting in the month and only as needed for the second one.
Discussion over a 30-hour officer request was held. Police Chief Edward Harry has requested a 30-hour officer to cover for some full-time officers who have some health issues or are using long-awaited vacation time and comp time. As a 30-hour officer, there will be less need for benefits and no pension requirement.
A 30-hour officer would have more consistency and provide better quality service and stability.
A question was asked of Harry about how much time is spent on administrative duties. He said it is very difficult to determine as he takes paperwork home with him.
It was noted Alburtis has two of their full-time officers doing 12-hour shifts.
The board broke into executive session to determine if they could vote on adding an officer. Council made the decision to vote.
Council members Greg Hutchison, Jean Nagle and Linn Walker voted against the hiring while Dave Boyko, Joseph Sikorski and Debra Cope voted yes.
Chris Becker broke the tie by voting yes to the hiring. Harry said he already has a candidate in mind but will submit it through the proper channels.