Board of Supervisors
Minutes of July 16, 2007
Members Present: Anne Goren, Chairman; Philip Calabro, Vice Chairman; Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer; Richard Weaver, Member; Tom Jirele, Member; Joseph Caracappa, Solicitor; John Boyle, Acting Township Manager.
Also Present: Various members of the Newtown Police Department including Chief Duffy, Jean Tanner, Detective Bush, Sergeant Hartman, Officer Lupnetti; Bob Swann; Don Harris, Director of Emergency Services; Theresa Katalinas, Bucks County Courier Times; Various Newtown residents including Nancy Crescenzo, Jay Sensibaugh, John D’Aprile and Gail Laughlin.
Chairman Goren advised that prior to calling tonight’s meeting to order the Board of Supervisors met in Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter.
Call to Order: Chairman Goren called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.
Chairman Goren advised that there would be a change to tonight’s agenda, item C would be moved to item A.
Police Department – Canine Unit Expansion (Video Presentation)
Chief Duffy advised the Board of Supervisors with regards to the Police Department’s K-9 unit. He discussed the successes of the current K-9 unit, which consist of one (1) bomb dog and one (1) drug/tracking dog. He estimated that the yearly cost to the Township for the current two (2) dogs be $3,442.00, which includes the training, medical insurance, food and vitamins. He advised that he would like to add an additional three (3) dogs to the K-9 unit, that would allow for one (1) dog on every shift. He advised that the cost to purchase one (1) dog is approximately $5,000.00. He introduced Mr. Bob Swann to the Supervisors and advised on Mr. Swann’s back round with regards to police dogs and training. Chief Duffy advised on the tremendous success of the K-9 program and that he would like the Township to continue the program and is requesting the Board to consider in the 2008 Budget to adding three (3) additional officers. He advised that the Department had a K-9 Training Video for tonight’s presentation.
The Supervisors watched a K-9 Training Video. Det. Bush and Sgt. Hartman narrated the video. The video showed various situations in where the K-9 units are deployed. Det. Bush advised the Supervisors with regards to the dog’s obedience.
Mr. Weaver questioned how it works when the K-9 units are used in other Townships. Chief Duffy advised with regards to the use of the K-9 unit in other Townships and the cooperation between departments.
Mr. Jirele questioned what other townships in the area have canine units. Det. Bush advised with regards to the number of dogs in Lower Makefield, Warminster, Middletown and Bristol Townships.
Mr. Schenkman questioned Chief Duffy with regards to a proposed Budget for expanding the K-9 unit. Chief Duffy advised with regards to the posting an officer to the K-9 unit and that the Township would not have to hire any additional officers, there is an interest with current officers but screening would need to be complete.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if there where any standards in the Commonwealth or Federally with regards to the number of dogs needed for a township of a certain size. Mr. Swann advised the Supervisors with regards to the Federal standards and the State regulations and that currently Pennsylvania has no guidelines.
Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the competency of the K-9 unit doing their job. Mr. Swann advised that Newtown Township follows the United States Police Canine Association Guidelines. He discussed the guidelines he follows when training a dog and advised that he is certified by the Philadelphia Police Department, the Atlantic City Police Department and the United States Canine Association. The standards that he follows are fourteen (14) weeks of training.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if there is follow up training for the dogs to attend. Mr. Swann advised that he runs in service training once a month and that Federal guidelines suggest sixteen (16) hours a month of training.
Chief Duffy advised that the bomb dog trains with Homeland Security personnel.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Township’s dogs are up to standard certification.
Mr. Swann advised that the USPCA require eight (8) hours of training per month, which the department follows, he discussed Det. Bush competing in Regional Trials.
Mr. Jirele questioned the dogs going on approximately 135 calls over a five (5) year period and what number of those calls where within Newtown. Chief Duffy advised that approximately 75 % - 80 % of the calls are within Newtown, he advised that he would provide the Supervisors with documentation showing the call numbers.
Chief Duffy advised the Supervisors that he has developed a Budget.
Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the number of weeks involved with properly training the dog. Mr. Swann advised that his class is fourteen (14) weeks, five (5) days, eight (8) hours a day.
Mr. Calabro questioned if the officer is with the dog during training. Mr. Swann advised that the officer is with the dog during training.
Mr. Calabro questioned the effect training will have to manpower. Chief Duffy advised with regards to effect to the Police Department’s manpower during training.
Mr. Jirele suggested Chief Duffy includes the overhead cost in the Budget information.
Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the home training of the dogs. Chief Duffy advised that the officers agreed not to bill the Township for home time.
Mr. Swann discussed the FLSA guidelines for keeping of the dog at home, he advised on possible ways to compensate handlers.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if the Police Department has been in communication with other departments that currently have K-9 units or are developing K-9 units to see about the coordination of existing resources. The representatives from the Police Department advised that was not looked into. Mr. Schenkman suggested coordinating use of the dogs. Mr. Swann advised on his research with regards to a mutual training center and location site. He discussed the County Commissioners developing a Board of Supervisors for the mutual training site.
Mr. Jirele questioned the number of times that the Township has required assistance from another municipality. Det. Bush advised with regards to assistance from other municipalities and discussed a recent situation in the Township.
The Supervisors discussed the New Jersey State Police K-9 training. Mr. Swann advised that he has heard that the New Jersey State Police will no longer be training any out of state dogs.
The Supervisors thanked the representatives from Newtown Police Department for their presentation.
Clark House Residential Lease – Terms of Lease with JDNC
Ms. Goren advised that the Board discussed this matter at their last meeting and agreed that they would like to give the JDNC a chance to respond.
Mr. Calabro advised the Supervisors that he and Mr. Schenkman attended the last JDNC Board Meeting where the matter was discussed.
Mr. Schenkman read aloud an email he received from Mr. Mike Sellers with regards to the JDNC Board of Directors.
Ms. Goren commented that the Board of Supervisors need to act on this matter tonight.
Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to giving proper notice.
Mr. Schenkman made a motion to give proper notice to the JDNC of our intention to terminate the year to year lease. Mr. Calabro seconded the motion.
The Supervisors discussed the motion made by Mr. Schenkman.
Mr. Caracappa advised with regards to the lease agreement and that the current lease expires October 31, 2007, requires ninety (90) days notice that the Township is not renewing the lease.
The Supervisors discussed the JDNC going to a month to month lease, which would only require the Township to give thirty (30) day notice but the Township would give more that thirty (30) days notice.
Ms. Crescenzo thanked the Supervisors for televising tonight’s meeting. She discussed the Aark Foundation and the services that they provide to the community. She discussed Mr. and Mrs. Clark and her views of their pleasures. She discussed the Clark property being purchased with tax dollars. She discussed the JDNC and how they service the community. She advised that she feels having someone located at the Clark property is a win-win situation for the community. She encourages the Board of Supervisors to keep the lease with the JDNC if the Aark Foundation’s relocation does not work out. She thanked Mr. Schenkman personally for his interest in the Aark. She thanked the Supervisors.
Mr. Sensibaugh agrees that it is a win-win situation and requested the Supervisors consider modify their motion to be a sixty (60) days notice verses thirty (30) day notice of termination.
Ms. Laughlin advised that she wanted to thank Mr. Schenkman publicly for his interest in the Aark Foundation.
Mr. Schenkman discussed the recommendation from Mr. Sensibaugh to amending the motion to sixty days notice of termination.
Mr. Schenkman amended his motion to give sixty (60) days notice of termination to the JDNC. Mr. Calabro amended his second and the motion passed unanimously (5-0).
Rose Bank Winery – Sketch Plan – 258 Durham Road
The Supervisors discussed the Rose Bank Winery and agreed to table discussions until a representative from Rose Bank Winery is present.
Mr. Schenkman made a motion to table the discussion until next month. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously (5-0).
Ms. Goren requested Mr. Boyle to make sure that Mr. Marshall receives notice for next month.
Emergency Services Department – Operations Manual
Mr. Harris updated the Board of Supervisors with regards to the Emergency Services Operations Manual. The Supervisors were provided various documents for their review.
Mr. Schenkman suggested refreshing the Supervisors and to advised on the purpose of the Operations Manual. Mr. Harris advised the Supervisors with regards to the purpose of the Operations Manual, the difference between the Operations Manual and the Administrative Code and that all new employees to the Emergency Services Department would receive a copy of the Operations Manual.
Mr. Schenkman questioned situations of conflict between the Administrative Code and the Operations Manual. Mr. Harris advised that if a conflict should arise the Administrative Code or the Collective Bargaining Agreement would prevail.
Mr. Schenkman questioned what the Department has been doing in the absence of having an Operations Manual in place. Mr. Harris advised that the Department has been using the Operations Manual.
Mr. Harris advised that the Operations Manual would be updated constantly.
Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the past couple of years that the Emergency Services Department has been using the proposed Operations Manual and questioned why the Board of Supervisors need to authorize the manual now. Mr. Harris advised on why he is requesting the Supervisors to officially adopt the Operations Manual.
The Supervisors discussed the Township’s Administrative Code.
Mr. Jirele questioned if the Operations Manual was discussed at the negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Township and the Emergency Services Department. Mr. Schenkman advised that he did not recall the matter being discussed.
Mr. Weaver questioned the if the Ambulance Squad and the Volunteer Fire Department have their own manuals. Mr. Harris advised that currently the Ambulance Squad and the Volunteer Fire Department have their own manuals.
Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the proposed manual being specific for Newtown Township and questioned if there is a Pennsylvania State Sanction Manual. Mr. Harris advised that there is no Pennsylvania State Sanction Manual and discussed the manual being developed by the municipalities.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if Operations Manuals are considered to be the best practice. Mr. Harris advised that the manual would be nationally recognized best practice.
Mr. Schenkman questioned how widely excepted Operations Manuals are in the Commonwealth and across the Country. Mr. Harris advised that from his perspective every department has a manual.
Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the information in the Operations Manual overlapping with the Township’s Administrative Code. Mr. Harris advised that a new employee to the Emergency Services Department would only have to review one (1) manual.
The Supervisors discussed weaning the Operations Manual down. Mr. Harris advised on the policies and procedures that the Emergency Services Department follows and that the Operations Manual will only get larger with time.
Ms. Goren discussed the Operations Manual’s benefit to the staff and questioned if the Township Solicitor has reviewed the proposed manual. Mr. Harris advised that the current Solicitor has not reviewed the proposed Operations Manual, but the prior Solicitor reviewed the proposed Operations Manual.
Ms. Goren commented with regards to having the Operations Manual reviewed by the current Township Solicitor.
Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the proposed Operations Manual and the need for a blessing from the Board of Supervisors with an Ordinance. Mr. Harris discussed other cities and departments through out the Country that have formally adopted an Operations Manual and the need something in writing.
Mr. Jirele discussed the Township’s other departments having internal manuals.
Mr. Harris commented with regards to the Newtown Emergency Services Department’s involvement with public safety.
Ms. Goren commented with regards to industry standard. Mr. Harris advised the Supervisors with regards to his past experiences and the classes he has attended.
Mr. Jirele suggested that before the Township has another Solicitor review the proposed Operations Manual contacting other local municipalities to see what they are doing. Mr. Harris advised that Newtown is the only municipality in the County with a Career Department, he suggested contacting Trenton, Philadelphia and Allentown.
Ms. Goren requested Mr. Harris to gather information for the Supervisors review. Mr. Harris advised that would not be a problem.
Mr. Schenkman questioned what a Career Department is. Mr. Harris advised with regards to the Department being recognized as a Career Department, he discussed the advantages of being a Career Department.
Mr. Calabro questioned if the Department is ever called to go outside the Township. Mr. Harris advised that yes the Department does go on calls outside of the Township.
Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to Mr. Harris’s memorandum dated July 13, 2007 and the creation of the Chief of the Emergency Services Department and the Acting Captain’s Position. Mr. Harris advised with regards to the Chief of the Emergency Services and the Acting Captain’s Position.
Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the July 13, 2007 memo and the creation of the Chief of the Emergency Services Department. Mr. Harris advised that the he is the Chief of the Emergency Services Department and that the Ordinance would only make it formal, none of his responsibilities would change.
Mr. Schenkman questioned the increase in cost to the budget. Mr. Harris advised that there is no increase in cost and discussed the collective bargaining agreement.
Mr. Harris advised that the proposed Operations Manual has nothing to do with Ambulance Squad or the Volunteer Fire Department. He advised that only the Newtown Emergency Services Department employees would use the proposed Operations Manual.
Ms. Goren commented with regards to the Operations Manual and any conflicts with the volunteer services.
Mr. Schenkman questioned if there would be a conflict between the paid and volunteer services if the Township were to formally adopt the proposed Operations Manual.
The Supervisors discussed both paid employees and volunteers being together on one (1) call. Mr. Harris advised on experiences were both the paid and the volunteer fire fighters are on one (1) scene.
The Supervisors discussed how other municipalities are handing this matter.
Ms. Goren questioned the impact of the Operations Manual to the volunteers. Mr. Harris advised that the Operations Manual would have no impact to the volunteers.
Mr. Jirele suggested that the paid employees and volunteers should get together to share ideas for the manual. Mr. Harris advised that has happened in the past and discussed the specifics of the proposed Operations Manual.
Mr. Jirele questioned if the paid employees and volunteers were open to the idea of having one (1) common Operating Procedures Manual. Mr. Schenkman advised that he did not believe Mr. Harris could speak for the volunteers.
Ms. Goren advised that tonight’s discussions are with regards to the Newtown Emergency Services Department’s Operation Manual. She suggested having the proposed Operations Manual review by the Solicitor and compare it to the Administrative Code or have Mr. Boyle review.
The Supervisors discussed the prior Township Solicitor reviewing the proposed Operations Manual and agreed to review his analysis.
The Supervisors discussed other paid emergency services departments. The Supervisors requested Mr. Boyle to research the matter and advised on how they handle the matter.
Mr. Jirele advised that he would like a legal opinion on whether or not the Township needs to authorize an Operations Manual through Ordinance.
Ms. Goren requested Mr. Harris to gather comparable information from other municipalities and forward the information to Mr. Boyle.
Mr. Goren advised that the Supervisors would have the current Solicitor get in touch with the prior Solicitor with regards to his analysis of the Operations Manual.
The Supervisors thanked Mr. Harris for his time.
Ms. Crescenzo advised on her past work history and discussed the need for an emergency manual. She recommended that the Township look into the other Township Departments to verify that they have up to date manuals. She advised that she was going through some old paperwork and found a document listing Newtown Township’s goals and objectives dated 2003, an item under the Parks & Recreation discussions was “develop a Nature Center on the Clark property”. She discussed the Township’s need to budget for a Nature Center. She suggested that the matter be discussed at a future Work Session.
Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to 2008 being the upcoming 325 th anniversary of the founding of Newtown. He advised on discussions at the JDNC meeting. He suggested that the Board begin thinking of ideas to honor Newtown.
Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 P.M.Ms. Goren advised that once the meeting is adjourned that the Board of Supervisors will meet in Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter.