Last updated: March 05. 2014 11:37PM - 2610 Views
By Tom Huntington Times Leader Correspondent

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SHICKSHINNY — A proposed $2-per-hour pay raise for the borough secretary/treasurer was met with debate at Tuesday night’s council meeting, and in the end, it was uncertain if she would remain in her position.

After a contentious discussion in which Councilman Michael Steeber rescinded his motion to raise Wendy Kramer’s compensation, it was disclosed that on Feb. 20 Kramer had composed a letter of resignation in which she stated that if her pay wasn’t increased to the level of her predecessor, Melissa Weber, she would resign as of March 6.

Kramer’s declaration produced a loud debate, which resulted in Councilman Kevin Morris proposing that Kramer’s resignation be accepted and, furthermore, council act on a motion by Mayor Beverly Moore that the secretary-treasurer’s position be advertised.

While Morris’ proposal met with support from Councilwoman Kathleen Llewellyn, it failed on a 3-2 vote when the current majority of council, Chairwoman Rosalie Whitebread and councilmen Steeber and Jim Wido, voted to reject Kramer’s resignation.

Afterward, Whitebread said she was against Kramer leaving, but the matter officially is in the hands of the personnel committee, which consists of Steeber and Wido. For his part, Wido said, “We want Wendy to rescind her resignation.”

Kramer, however, said for the record, “I have no comment.”

Whitebread said Kramer is currently paid $14.94 per hour for a 15-hour-per-week schedule.

As at January’s meeting, Moore attacked Kramer about the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting as well as not having access to a compilation of accounts payable.

“I’m an elected official and taxpayer,” Moore said, “but when I ask to see the bills, she (Kramer) says I have to file a freedom of information petition. Where’s she coming from with this?”

In addition to focusing on issues related to Kramer, Morris also attacked the council majority for having conducted a telephone poll for the purchase of a mechanical loading machine in December. After awarding a bid of $23,939 to Lindsay Equipment of Ashley, it was determined that delivery wouldn’t be until some time in February.

Morris charged the majority then took upon themselves to accept the proposal of another firm, which promised immediate delivery, but at a cost of $36,209.

Morris said the action violates borough code. When he pressed the issue, Whitebread responded by requesting that Solicitor John Pike research the matter and file a report.

Council also put on hold, “pending further consideration,” Steeber said, a plan submitted by police Chief Robert Kishbaugh of Salem Township, whereby his unit would provide law enforcement services to the borough.

Kishbaugh said personnel would be scheduled to serve in Shickshinny at an “all-inclusive cost” of $31.90 per hour.

“This is something, I’m sure we can work out,” Kishbaugh said.

Moore, however, debated the cost, estimating that, based upon 2014 budget figures, the borough’s department that formerly was manned by two individuals, working 25 hours per week, was costing only $20 per hour. Moore contended that council would be exceeding budget estimates by accepting Kishbaugh’s plan.

When asked, Steeber said recent newspaper advertising has produced three applicants for the posts formerly held by officers Brian Morris and Keith Shackles.

In another matter, after a report by Codes Officer Rick Harman, council accepted the donation of land at 24-26 E. Union St., the former Bartleson property.

Action was also unanimous in enacting amendment 445A, which stipulates reclamation of property after flood-damaged structures have been razed.

The amendment outlines regulations requiring the removal of material and the backfilling of the site in order to accommodate landscaping and effective surface water runoff control.

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