DURYEA — New full-time police officers in Duryea Borough now have to pay for health benefits.
An addendum to the Police Union Contract regarding new full-time police officers’ benefits was passed during Tuesday’s meeting. The addendum to the contract now requires all new full-time officers to make a contribution toward their health insurance premiums.
Police Chief Nicholas Lohman and Officer Mike Rosemellia are two of the four full-time officers in Duryea Borough. Lohman and Rosemellia currently receive full benefits for themselves. Officers Charles Swisher and George Brazdzionis III, who were hired in July of this year, make a significant contribution toward their premiums.
Once Lohman and Rosemellia are no longer on the force, all full-time officers will have to make a contribution toward their insurance. In the addendum, any officers hired after Jan. 1, 2015, which would include Swisher and Brazdonis III, would make the direct contribution.
According to Solicitor Sam Falcone, this way of handing benefits falls more in line with the private sector. This way, the borough can save money and keep a full-time police presence in the community.
“We wouldn’t be able to afford to put full-time officers on our streets if we didn’t do it like this,” Falcone said.
Initially, full-time borough police officers in the borough received full benefits for health insurance, including themselves, families and spouses.
In 2008, the borough made an addendum to the contract for officers hired after a certain date. That addendum gave officers full coverage, but they did not receive the family plan. If the officers opted to, they could pay out of their pockets for a larger plan.
In other business
• Under old business at the meeting, council informed residents the levee project will begin on Jan. 5, 2016. The bid was awarded to Leeward Construction Inc.
• Resident Lois Komensky wrote a letter to council in regards to a Little Free Library being established at the borough building. The motion passed to set up a donation/pickup box at the borough building to be maintained by Komensky. A Little Free Library is a mini-reference center for children’s books that are available with no library card or fines.
The box would hold approximately 12 children’s books. Parents can also drop extra books in the box. Komensky said she contacted the Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center to build the box. More information can be found at www.littlefreelibrary.org.
• The Recreation Board will hold its annual Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Community Park Pavilion. The park will be closed for three days prior to the event.
• An amendment to the Recreation Board’s bylaws was tabled to another meeting. The amendment would add two alternates to the board and change the term from five years to four. The officer terms would be two years. Council will meet with the Recreation Board to discuss the matter further.
The next scheduled meeting for the Duryea Borough Council will be on Nov. 10. Work session begins at 6:30 p.m. with the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick