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Mayor apologizes to officers for actions

October 23, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Mayor Tom Newcomer read a formal apology Tuesday to the Chambersburg Police Officers Association for acting "inappropriately" this spring during labor negotiations.

"I used offensive language and am sorry for the anguish my remarks caused," Newcomer said. "In the future I will refrain from repeating such actions."

Newcomer's statement was agreed to by the borough solicitor, the attorney for the police officers union, the officers and a conciliator with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

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The parties reached the agreement the day before a hearing was scheduled earlier this month in Harrisburg, Pa., on a charge of unfair labor practices that the union filed in July.

Newcomer said during Tuesday's Borough Council meeting he hoped the officers would accept the apology and withdraw the complaint.

"I hope this will enable the complaint to be withdrawn and the issue put to rest," said Newcomer, who as mayor is head of the police department.

The union filed the complaint against the borough, accusing Newcomer of cursing at and berating the officers in a closed-door meeting after the union decided to move into arbitration in May.

The borough and union are involved in negotiations over a new contract. The current police contract expires at the end of the year.

The officers also accused Newcomer of interfering with contract negotiations and trying to intimidate them.

Newcomer said Tuesday that he never intended to intimidate anyone, and brought up several goals he has to improve the department.

"I believe we have a strong foundation for a good department," he said.

He recommended brainstorming sessions and having more bilingual officers in the department to help serve the growing Hispanic population.

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