Ashley Council President Jim Mullen said council would not be hiring new officers Wednesday due to a lack of paperwork.Don Carey/the times leader
ASHLEY – Borough council met Wednesday night in a special meeting to bring on three new, part-time police officers, but the lack of paperwork to hire them scuttled the plans.
Council will have to delay the swearing in of the officers that was set for its regularly scheduled meeting next Tuesday.
It also will have to hold off on hiring a part-time police chief because there may be additional candidates besides the one who has applied for the position.
The borough has been struggling to provide police protection around the clock. Finances forced a cutback in the force and the firing last March of former Chief Dave Cerski after his pregnant ex-girlfriend obtained a protection from abuse order against him further reduced the force to one full-time officer, Sgt. Joe McGlynn. The state police cover the borough when there is no one else available.
The meeting was called with the intent to allow council more time to devote to the agenda for next week, explained council chairman Jim Mullin.
“We have a lot on our plate for Tuesday,” said Mullin.
Council member Joe Gorham said McGlynn, the officer-in-charge, has not forwarded the necessary paperwork. Council is “waiting for the officer in charge” to provide the paperwork, said Gorham.
He expressed his frustration over trying to work with McGlynn.
“I want cooperation,” said Gorham. “We have extended every courtesy available and ask for the same courtesy back, and we’re not getting it.”
McGlynn was not at the meeting, but borough resident James Barberio spoke in his defense, saying the council might want the officer to do something that the mayor won’t let him do.
“Don’t get Mr. McGlynn hamstrung between you and the mayor,” said Barberio.
Mayor Rick Oravic did not attend the meeting.
The new hires would be brought on in a staggered fashion over the next three months and bring the force up to six part-time officers. They work a maximum of 32 hours a week under state law.
Gorham said the goal is to have coverage around the clock and the borough might be able to do so because to date the borough is operating under budget.