The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 18, 2013

16 apply for police positions in South Fork Borough

Council looking to replace 2 who resigned

SOUTH FORK — The South Fork Borough Council said it’s preparing to review the roughly 16 applications received to fill both recently vacated positions on its two-person force.

The council’s police committee said it plans to meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the South Fork Municipal Building, where it will narrow the short list of applicants down to four or five interviews.

At Monday night’s special meeting, Mark Wadsworth, former South Fork volunteer fire chief, aired concerns during the public forum about maintaining security in the small town.

“Public safety must take precedence,” he said. “We’re just too small. There’s not enough income, there’s not enough people, there’s not enough population to provide all the services.”

Wadsworth was in attendance on Monday night to give the council an update on South Fork’s third annual Heritage Days celebration, which will kick off June 20. But at the end of his report, he addressed the borough’s police force issue pointedly.

“Forest Hills and Croyle Township had an agreement four or five years ago that they would cover each other when they were out,” he said.

“The police officers involved were able to adjust their work schedule where they had every shift but one in a 168-hour week covered. And it was at $0 tax increase to any resident. You cannot go wrong with that.”

Wadsworth said he feels South Fork must form a mutually beneficial relationship with its neighbors in order to maintain adequate services for its residents, and that municipality leaders and officials must “get along.”

“The ‘my way or the highway’ attitude must disappear,” he said.

Both of South Fork’s police officers tendered their resignations in late February, citing new regulations and procedures put in place by Mayor Don Hudson as too restrictive.

Whether current concerns over police coverage could make a compelling enough argument for South Fork to embrace the Forest Hills Regional Alliance’s police regionalization plan – which is once again picking up steam in the small communities along the Mainline – remains to be seen.

The next meeting to discuss the plan will take place Wednesday in Summerhill.

Hudson said members of South Fork Borough Council plan to attend.

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