Residents pack Jenkintown Borough meeting concerned over stalled police contract negotiations

Update: Late Thursday, Borough Council released this statement, "Borough Council engaged in additional deliberation about the police contract for 2020-2023 in its public session on February 26, 2020.

There was a unanimous vote to accept the terms and move forward with the negotiated contract offer of January 31, 2020.

We have notified the union and hope to move quickly to a resolution to this process."

Original Story: 

Residents packed into a Jenkintown Borough meeting Wednesday night concerned over stalled police contract negotiations.

"You've all been involved in employment contract negotiations. Nobody offers you something and pulls it back, nobody," said a passionate resident pressing Jenkintown Borough Council about stalled police contract negotiations.

Council voted to take an offer off the table that was negotiated and accepted by police.

"They're entitled to a fair negotiation and that's not dealing in good faith for a council police budget committee to offer something and then they change their mind. There is no way that everybody didn't have an idea what was originally going down," said Regina Bachman who spoke during public comment during tonight's council meeting in support of frustrated police officers some were at the meeting but couldn't speak.

 "If we have to raise the tax then we raise the tax but we don't disrespect them that way," said Bachman. Three members of council are on the contract bargaining unit and hammered out a deal with the PBA, the negotiating team representing police.

 "What the borough has to do is see what we can afford in terms of increases in the contract," said Mayor Allyson Dobbs who doesn’t vote on the contract says council thought they had a good tentative agreement but when presented to council they felt the numbers were too high.

 "It wasn't in bad faith. What the negotiation team did it was they were doing their job reporting back to council," said Mayor Dobbs. Resident Joy Kostrow had questions about the department's two K9 officers would be affected by the contract which are funded by donations but require special police cars.

"I think that men should be compensated. I don’t feel it should have to come out of their pocket," said Kostrow who also says the about face in the contract deal just doesn't make sense.

 "Well, you don't have transparency in Washington, you don't have transparency in Harrisburg so why should you have it in Jenkintown," she said.

 The mayor says K9 aren't included in this contract. She also says the last contract expired Dec. 31 although police are still working under the terms. Council was expected to go into executive session tonight to discuss next steps.


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