Laceyville’s borough council voted last Tuesday (July 1) to reinstate the police officer who had been photographed June 12 selling a semi-automatic rifle out of the trunk of the borough’s patrol car at a Wyalusing Dandy Mart.
Shortly after the meeting started, Borough Council President Linda Sabatelle announced that the council would hold an executive session to discuss the issue involving Patrolman Matt Chamberlain, who had been suspended by Mayor Phil Brewer, after being informed of the June 12 incident.
Council held a special meeting June 20 to deal with the suspension, but only met in executive session to decide what future action might be taken.
This past Tuesday’s session, which included Laceyville Chief of Police Scott Perry, lasted approximately 45 minutes. After reconvening, borough council voted to reinstate Officer Chamberlain immediately and to place him on six months’ probation.
Borough Councilman Ken Patton made the motion to reinstate Chamberlain, which was seconded by councilwoman Lorraine Brewer.
After the motion was seconded the council held a roll-call vote, with every council member, except Kristy Johnson voting for reinstatement.
Johnson would not comment as to why she voted against reinstating Chamberlain.
When asked why Chamberlain was being reinstated, Patton simply said, “After review, we feel that reinstating Officer Chamberlain is in the best interest of the borough at this time.”
Chamberlain has been a member of the Laceyville police force for two years. He was not present at the meeting.
Borough solicitor Chad Salsman advised the council to go into a second executive session later in the meeting when discussions began concerning a parcel of land that is supposed to be the site of the new municipal building. The land was apparently gifted to the borough by the old Rotary Club many years ago, but, currently, the borough cannot locate the deed for the parcel.
According to Councilman Donald VanDeMark the borough has maintained the property for years.
The council did not give any information as to what was discussed during the executive 10-minute session. No action was taken on the issue.
Councilman Keith Pennay announced that Charles “Jay” Butler will become Laceyville’s new certified operator. Currently the position pays $500 a month. Thomas Sekula, who was the certified operator, will assume the role of the borough’s backup operator at $50 a month.
Diane Wilmarth assumed the position of borough secretary which was vacated by Mary Tyler.
Robert Baker also contributed to this story.