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Ford City councilwoman, mayor clash on police

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By Thomas Mitchell
Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
 

FORD CITY — At a borough council meeting on Monday, member Kim Bish expressed her concern over the number of citations issued by an ordinance officer. Bish said that in the last two months, only nine citations had been issued, four in August and five in July.

She explained after the meeting that the enforcement of ordinances falls to a borough police officer on a rotating basis.

Bish said the ordinance officer works approximately 160 hours a month and that the $400 dollars collected in fines did not meet the amount paid on compensation. The pay was not detailed.

Mayor Marc Mantini defended the officers' efforts, saying they were not on a quota but adding that he would check into the situation.

Bish criticized a lack of police bicycle patrols. She said the officers are supposed to put in two hours a day, weather permitting, on bicycle patrol. However, in the past month, no miles were put on the bicycle. She said that bicycle patrols save the borough gasoline expenses and allow officers to enforce more ordinances.

Mantini at that point expressed anger, accusing Bish of wanting to examine police personnel files without going to proper channels. Bish denied the accusation.

Bish made a motion to advertise for a part-time police officer. The motion was seconded by Jerry Miklos and passed unanimously.

Miklos said the borough incurs significant expense to hire part-time police, but that many part-time officers work a short time and then move on to other police departments in larger cities. In a previous meeting, Miklos asked that a policy be drafted requiring officers who leave the department before a certain time to reimburse the borough for physical examinations and related hiring expenses. Mantini agreed to help formulate a policy.

In other council matters:

• Paul Mohney said that eight water samples were taken last month at the water plant. Of the eight, five passed. However, he said that it was determined that the three that failed did so because of improper sampling or handling methods.

• Frank Wolf submitted his resignation as borough solicitor effective Dec. 31. He urged council to hire a solicitor by November so he could assist in the transition.

• Although Richardson Inspection Services decided not to renew its contract as building codes inspection for the borough effective Sept. 7, the company agreed to remain as a temporary stand-in until a new service or codes officer could be hired.

Council will meet next at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 in Ford City Public Library.

Tom Mitchell is a correspondent for the Leader Times.

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