Westfield

Westfield Borough is reviewing the duties performed by its police force.

At borough council’s meeting Sept. 14, councilor Denis Landry shared a draft list of duties expected of officers and the chief. The list included a stipulation that it’s not all inclusive; additional duties may be added by the borough or county. Landry said he reviewed neighboring boroughs’ police job descriptions.

“We can keep pursuing this, but we need to get more information if we’re going to change anything with the contract,” said Mayor Elizabeth Rowland.

Landry said there’s nothing in the contracts defining their duties; reporting would be done the same as it is now, via a paper report from each officer every month.

“We have to talk to (Chief) Dale (Niles) about it,” said Rowland. “He’s not willing to come to a meeting unless he has union representation there.”

It is Niles’ responsibility to contact the union if he desires representation for any meeting, said borough secretary Lori Nelson in response to a question.

Both Rowland and Council President Gail Bollinger said they want Niles’ input before approving the job description/duties list. An executive session with Niles, Rowland and council will be scheduled soon.

Related to police duties, council also discussed inoperable parking meters. Rowland said several of the meters needed batteries, which are available in the office. Landry and Bollinger both said it’s the police department’s duty to regularly check the meters and report non-functioning meters.

Council also approved signing a consent order as requested by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission until the borough can officially register its well source.

The agreement states the borough can only pump 220,000 gallons per day, but Nelson said this was edited to add an exception for emergency or extenuating circumstances such as leaks that draw more water than normal. Nelson also said this figure could be amended during the actual registration application process.

“What is the claim? What are they claiming?” asked Landry, who had expressed opposition to signing the agreement when it was brought up at a previous meeting.

“That our well is not registered. It should have been back in the 1980s when the well was created,” said Bollinger. “There’s no way around this unless we want to pay more fines.”

Council voted to sign the agreement, with only Landry opposed.

Bollinger said there’s currently a large leak in the borough’s water system, but its exact location hasn’t yet been found. It was detected after flooding in mid-August. The borough is asking residents conserve water and avoid unnecessary use, such as washing cars or lawns or filling swimming pools.

Also at the meeting, council:

  • Learned preliminary 2022 budgets are available for their review.
  • Heard from Shawn Downey of Larson Design Group that the waste water treatment plant project is making good progress with piping and equipment being installed in buildings.
  • Heard from Rowland that trick-or-treat will be Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Learned that Rowland and councilmember Carissa Grossman met with the Westfield Historical Society, which has offered to sponsor the hometown heroes banner program. She said there’s no timeline for implementation yet.
  • Approved a request for the homecoming parade to be held down Main Street on Friday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.

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