Borough to Start Police Talks with Thornbury Township
The West Chester Borough Council votes to begin talks with Thornbury Township for police services.
The West Chester Borough Council voted unanimously to begin talks with Thornbury Township about police service during Tuesday’s monthly work session meeting.
“This does not obligate us to enter into any kind of contract,” said council president Holly Brown. “We’re just voting so that we can begin the conversation.”
Thornbury Township’s current police contract with the Westtown-East Goshen police department is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. So far, Thornbury has rejected offers from Westtown and East Goshen to continue police service.
Thornbury was willing to extend its contract with Westtown-East Goshen for the price of $786,000, but the WEGO police department wanted Thornbury to sign an agreement that would force them to help pay for a WEGO officer that went on permanent disability.
The WEGO police department currently pays a 70 percent of salary pension to officers that are forced to retire because of a permanent disability. However, WEGO pays able-bodied officers that retire only a 50 percent of salary pension.
“That can lead to a lot of adverse behavior,” said council member Jordan Norley.
Norley went on to argue that the West Chester Police Department has a contract that would provide a disincentive for retiring with a permanent disability.
“If you retire from the West Chester Police Department because of a permanent disability, you receive a pension based on 50 percent of your average salary over the last five years,” Norley said.
Norley added, “A regular retiring officer will receive a 50 percent pension based on the last three years of service.”
Norley went on to say that because officers tend to make more money in the last few years of their careers there is incentive to avoid permanent disability.
Currently, the borough has a similar service contract with East Bradford Township, and the agreement has existed since 1989.
“This agreement helps reduce the fixed costs of the borough,” Norley said. “But it also can bring some liability.”
“Tonight we’re only authorizing ourselves to have the discussion,” Norley said. “Then we can decide if it’s something we actually want to do.”