Police department is focus of new borough council
January 15, 2014 —
HONESDALE, PA — It’s not often that an organization fails to approve minutes of its own previous meetings, but that’s what happened at the January 13 monthly meeting of the Honesdale Borough Council. In front of a room packed to capacity with media representatives, supporters of police sergeant Ron Kominski and curious citizenry, newly-elected Councilperson Tiffany Kominski voiced objection to the minutes of the January 3 emergency meeting.
It wasn’t the wording of the minutes that prompted Kominski’s objection; it was the designation of the January 3 meeting as an “emergency” meeting. Per borough bylaws, an emergency meeting may be called on short notice and without the usual advance publicity. This one was called with only 30 minutes notice, making it impossible for media and public to attend. Council President James Brennan defended his decision to call the meeting, saying that he had been notified by police Commissioner Rick Southerton that the current critical shortage of working police officers represented a danger to everyone in the borough. The express purpose of that meeting was to approve hiring of three part-time officers to supplement the quota of full-time officers, some of whom are currently out on leave. Mayor Ed Langendoerfer, police liaison, refuted Brennan’s explanation, claiming that the council had been aware of the officer shortage in late December and that the council’s outgoing president, F.J. Monaghan, had tabled the issue at the council’s December 30 meeting.
Acceding to requests from Langendoerfer and Public Works Director Rich Doney, who spoke on behalf of all public works employees, as well as fire, police and ambulance personnel, the council reinstated an overnight parking ban during the months of December, January and February. Overnight street parking will be prohibited during the hours 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.; violators will face a $25 fine. Newly elected Councilperson Bill Canfield asked that a local newspaper publish a prominent notice to borough residents clarifying the ban’s conditions. Doney stated that reverting to the longstanding ban ordinance should incur no additional cost to the borough, noting that all appropriate signage is still in place.