Lititz to hire new police officer Also, municipalities move forward on WESA position

By on June 27, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Lititz Borough Council voted Tuesday night to authorize the Lititz Police Department to begin the process of hiring a new police officer. While the move is characterized as one to replace an officer, Police Chief William Seace declined to comment on why the move was necessary or who was being replaced.

With council’s vote, Seace can now begin work with the Lancaster County Police Chiefs Hiring Consortium to consider candidates for the open position. He explained to council that in an emergency the department could still hire through the traditional civil service exam process. However, much of the initial screening and testing done through the consortium saves the department time, money and can yield a field of candidates who have already passed through an initial screening process.

"The consortium tests once a year, and all the departments in the consortium can then pick from the list of approved candidates," Seace said. "We then do the written tests and physical agility tests."

Lititz Borough Police joined the consortium in 2012 and pays an annual membership fee of $500. Seace explained that this membership represented a considerable savings to the department for the services received.

The motion by the borough’s subcommittee on personnel did not explicitly authorize the hiring of a new officer, but did allow the job opening to be posted on the borough’s website. The job listing would then direct interested applicants with instructions on how to apply through the consortium, which will begin advertising the opening on behalf of the borough. According to Seace, no hiring decision will be made until after testing of the final field of applicants has been completed. He said that agility testing will be held in September at Elizabethtown College.

"This is a streamlined process and other departments that have used the consortium have really liked it," Seace noted.

The motion carried unanimously.

In another staffing move, council threw its support behind the effort to create the first full-time paid WESA coordinator position.

WESA (Warwick Emergency Services Alliance) is an alliance of 10 member organizations, established in 2001. It is comprised of Warwick Township Supervisors, Elizabeth Township Supervisors, Lititz Borough Council, the Brickerville, Brunnerville, Lititz and Rothsville fire companies as well as the Brickerville, Rothsville and Warwick ambulance associations.

A full-time paid coordinator will work to create standardized operating procedures to be used across the organization. The position would also work to coordinate the physical equipment utilized.

Council reviewed a draft job description for the new position and initial figures regarding the potential costs associated with the new hire. Council President Karen Weibel explained that this was a starting place from which to begin the process, which remains somewhat conceptual in nature. The move toward hiring a full-time coordinator stems directly from the recently completed WESA study which reviewed current and future levels of service provided to area residents.

Tuesday’s motion by council was a next step toward making this a reality. Warwick Township Supervisors voted to support the move forward at their June 20 meeting.

In other borough news, members voted to approve the recommendations of the Lititz Planning Commission regarding plans to extend Highlands Drive. Weibel explained that Tuesday’s move was extremely time sensitive in that the project was dependent on the availability of federal grant money. The current federal fiscal year ends on June 30, and according to Weibel the funding will not be carried into the next fiscal year.

The proposed Highlands Drive extension project has been a long time coming. On the strategic plan map for nearly 10 years, the project is being completed in conjunction with Warwick Township since portions of the project are in both municipalities. Motions approved Tuesday reconcile any differences that had existed between design and construction standards set by each municipality.

Those differences were a topic of some discussion at last month’s borough council meeting. On Tuesday, Weibel described those differences as miscommunications and was comfortable both municipalities were on the same page.

Council briefly discussed an idea brought forward by council member Scott Hain to develop a mile-long walking course through the borough. The idea was widely accepted by other council members who recommended two- and three-mile courses to be mapped out as well. Hain said he envisioned markers shaped like hearts would indicate each quarter mile. He also expressed interest in developing a map of the course for ardent walkers to follow. Weibel was enthusiastic about the idea, adding that Hain should consider at least one starting point to begin near an ideal parking area.

A number of upcoming events were also presented to council, each one being approved. They included:

? The Legends marching band competition to be held Oct. 6 from 4 to 11 p.m. This event would require the closing of Maple Street between the pool and the high school. Even though this event is scheduled for the same day as the annual Chocolate Walk, no significant conflicts were noted.

? The National Night Out Pool Party, which is being sponsored by the Lititz Borough Police Department was approved for Tuesday evening, Aug. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lititz Springs Pool. As in years past, the borough has agreed to cover the cost of having lifeguards on duty.

? The Summer Showcase Soccer Tournament was approved for July 28-29 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This event will not require any road closure; however, it is expected to draw upwards of 4,000 people into the area.

A measure expected to authorize council to advertise an ordinance increasing the amount charged for parking ticket fines was effectively shelved, at least for the time being. The current fee structure has been in place since March 2005. Weibel asked council to table the measure at least until next month because a borough parking study is currently wrapping up that also looks at the issue of parking ticket fines. She explained that she felt it would be a good idea for several others, including borough senior staff, to look at the study prior to any action.

And finally, council member Doug Bomberger announced that he has begun the process of accepting applications for the next two junior council members. To date, council has had three such non-voting members representing either the junior or senior class in high school.

According to Bomberger, the position was created to provide high school students living within the Warwick School District an opportunity to be educated and involved in their local government.

The Junior Council Program was established in 1999 by the Pennsylvania Borough’s Association.

"It is our hope that through these activities we may spark the interest of our local youth to take greater interest in their local government and to share their experiences with their classmates," Bomberger said.

An application for junior council can be found on the borough’s website. Interested applicants are also asked to write an essay on "how youth’s involvement in local government can have a positive impact on building our community in the future." The deadline for application is July 26. The first term to be filled will run September through December. The second term will run from Jan. 1 to May 31, 2013. All interested juniors and seniors living within the school district will be considered, regardless of which school they attend. Homeschool students are likewise invited to apply for this unique service opportunity.

Completed applications and essays should be hand-delivered or mailed to Lititz Borough Hall, 7 S. Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543. Selected students for the junior council positions will be notified no later than July 31. More BOROUGH COUNCIL, page A7

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