SHICKSHINNY — Mayor Beverly Moore and Councilman Kevin Morris clashed Tuesday night over issues surrounding the Brian Morris, but in the end, a majority action by council not to retain Brian Morris in the police department remained in force.
Morris proposed a motion that Brian Morris, former police officer, (as well as Jim Shepherd of the road department) be rehired. But after some haggling and an executive session to discus in private the reasons for Morris being laid off, Kevin Morris’ proposal failed on a 3-2 vote.
Councilwoman Kathleen Llewellyn joined Councilman Morris in casting a favorable vote, but the motion died on negative votes from Rosalie Whitebread, Jim Wido and Mike Steeber.
For her part, Moore contended the council majority has failed to demonstrate adherence to its established policy of dismissals being “for cause.”
“I have yet to hear, or receive, an explanation on why Brian wasn’t rehired. … All I have heard is a councilman (Steeber) say: ‘We don’t have to give a reason,’ ” Moore said.
She contended these comments are contrary to the borough’s policy of dismissals being with cause.
At the advice of Solicitor John Pike, Whitebread, Wido and Steeber agreed to meet in private with Moore and Kevin Morris to discuss the case. Afterward there was no direct comment, except that Pike presented a rationale that disclosure was withheld because of Brian Morris’ privacy rights.
However, Brian Morris, during the public comment phase of the meeting, argued he has not received an official explanation nor has he been issued an official document outlining his status.
“All I know is what I read in the newspaper,” he said.
Pike interjected, “You were not retained. You’re laid off.”
There were two issues that council did unanimously agree upon: the resignation of police officer Keith Shackles, effective Feb. 10, was accepted and Councilman Morris’ proposal to advertise for two police officers to work an established 25 hours per week, met with a 5-0 vote.
It was also stated police coverage in the borough will be provided by the state police during the interim.
On other matters, council acted on a tax ordinance designed to incorporate receipts from the street light levy into the general fund and it OK’d revisions to an ordinance on regulations for lot restoration following the demolition of vacant buildings.
Max Furek of the Susuehanna Warrior Trail 5-K Race & Fun Walk was present seeking council’s support for the event (the seventh annual) scheduled on April 5.