BLOSSBURG — A police officer here believes he is unable to return to work because he sought treatment for mental health issues.
Robert Scott, 37, said he has not worked since October 2020 after he took vacation and stayed off work to work through personal and mental issues.
He communicated with his superior, Police Chief Josh McCurdy, and was put on administrative leave while he worked through issues with the help of counselors, family, friends and his doctor.
On April 14, Scott attended the Blossburg council meeting to request answers to why, despite having six medical clearances from three different physicians, he has remained on administrative leave since Nov. 25, 2020.
On that day, said Scott, he was told that he was a “liability” and urged to resign. The alternative was to take a psychological exam which, if he failed, would result in his termination and loss of police certification.
Scott decided to take the evaluation, and met with the physician on Jan. 20. He provided a copy of the medical release to the borough, said Scott, and was told he could not return to work until the police committee reviewed it at the Feb. 10 meeting.
He received a second medical release from the same doctor before that meeting, when he was advised to speak with the borough solicitor, Patrick Barrett.
Scott said he attended another police committee meeting on March 10, during which he provided two additional medical release letters.
Scott said he was asked to meet with the solicitor before last week’s meeting. He said he discovered upon arriving that it was a termination hearing.
During his allotted time, Scott read from a prepared statement. He contends that his administrative leave has cost the borough more than $20,000 in salary and benefits while giving Blossburg fewer patrols and arrests.
The borough lost about 640 hours of police coverage from his absence and, between Oct. 1, 2020 and Feb. 28, the police department issued six traffic citations and made no arrests, said Scott in a written statement provided to this paper.
“That either means after I left Blossburg borough became one of the safest communities or one of the most underserved with police protection,” Scott said in an interview after the meeting.
After three minutes of speaking, Scott sat down.
No council member or borough official spoke at the meeting nor offered comment when contacted.