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Derry Borough Council delays action on contracts for lack of quorum

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

With only three of its seven members present, Derry Borough Council lacked a quorum for voting during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday.

Action on two contracts — for this year's paving project and for a single refuse hauler in the borough — were among agenda items held over for a rescheduled session. Barry Smith, who chaired the meeting, and fellow members Kristine Melville, Jim Ritenour and Chuck DeRito tentatively discussed convening again for another try at 7 p.m. Sept. 24.

DeRito was participating remotely by speaker phone and could not be counted for purposes of achieving a quorum, borough officials noted.

With an audience of about a dozen, Smith took the opportunity to promote his proposal for a Neighborhood Watch program that would organize residents to watch for suspicious activities and report them to borough police.

Smith said he hopes to have an initial meeting for the program later this month or in early October, but he asked those who are interested in participating to call the borough office at 724-694-2030 or the borough police station at 724-694-8030 to get involved.

Smith has said he would like to organize program volunteers for each of four sectors in the town. To be most effective, he said, volunteers should remain anonymous and rotate times when they are out keeping an eye peeled for trouble. He stressed that those involved in the program would not confront anyone they see in a suspicious situation but would report what they observe to police.

He said the volunteers could “maybe give our police a little bit of assistance” addressing such problems as drugs, vandalism and domestic violence. “I think it's a good, positive way to work and help to clean up our community.”

Smith praised borough police officers for increasing the amount of time they spend on foot patrols. “I think it's a good thing with school back in,” he said. Resident Daniel Chaney Sr. told council he's heard rumors that some borough officials are “trying to get rid of the police department.” His wife, Karen, said the presence of police was one reason they moved their family to Derry nearly a year ago.

Smith noted that the borough is limited by the budget on what it can spend on the police department, but he said officials are working to maintain police service within available funding.

Mayor David Bolen said he would prefer the department to be staffed around the clock. He said police Chief Randy Glick has been working extra. Bolen said he hopes to have a new part-timer on board by early next month to beef up the current force of three full-time officers and four part-timers.

Jeff Hilmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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