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Elizabeth officials want communication lines to remain open with W. Elizabeth

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 3:07 a.m.

Elizabeth officials want to ensure the lines of communication remain open with West Elizabeth regarding its police services, Elizabeth Councilman Larry Duvall told West Elizabeth council on Wednesday night.

West Elizabeth is in the second year of a three-year contract with Elizabeth for police services. Representatives of both boroughs met in January to discuss issues that arose during the first year of the contract, West Elizabeth Councilman Steve Hallam said.

“We felt that we weren't getting the coverage and due diligence of the force on numerous different issues that were brought up in the meeting,” he said.

“We want to have a dialogue continuously on whatever issues arise we haven't dealt with,” Duvall said. “We're partners in this and we really need to communicate.”

He said Elizabeth officials found out there were “some festering issues” when he met with West Elizabeth council vice president Frank Magill and Councilman Steve Hallam that Magill and Hallam thought would be dealt with in the new contract.

“There were no solutions because council was not aware,” Duvall said. “We want to be aware. If we're aware, we'll deal with it. We've implemented a lot of new policies and procedures and we hope you're seeing a difference. If not, we want to know about it. Otherwise we can't fix it.”

“We appreciate you coming out,” West Elizabeth council president Louise Biddle said.

“The moment the contract was signed, your mayor guaranteed that there was going to be communications,” West Elizabeth Councilman Daryl Celestino said. “That's the last time I saw him.”

Duvall said he can't make excuses for what happened in the past.

“We will have a council member at your council meeting every meeting,” he said.

Duvall thanked Hallam and Magill for bringing the issues to Elizabeth council's attention.

“I have noticed a big improvement over the last month,” Celestino noted.

West Elizabeth approved the three-year contract with Elizabeth in December 2011. At that time, it also considered a proposal from the City of Clairton to provide police protection.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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