Gettysburg seeks transparency in employee complaints

Gettysburg Borough will revise its employee complaint processes to make them more streamlined and more transparent. The goal is a standardized set of “progressive disciplinary actions” for potential infractions. The policy would help ensure all relevant parties, including employees, supervisors, and the borough council would be notified of the processes and outcomes of any complaints and followup proceedings.

The new procedures would include a periodic review of complaints about employees and would apply to all borough employees, including members of the police department.

“We do have a history of not always having a robust program that is followed,” said Borough Council President Wesley Heyser.

“We are trying to correct a history of lackluster policy, that was not being applied fairly or universally,” said council member Matt Moon.

Heyser said in his experience the council was often not informed about complaints and procedures. “I have rarely known about complaints filed in many circumstances,” he said.

The council discussed who should be the arbitrator in cases of potentially wrongdoing, with council member Matt Moon saying that the council should make the judgments. Moon said that on the basis of his own experiences there would be times when supervisors were too close to employees to make objective decisions.

Heyser said he thought the council itself could be biased by “outside pressures” and advocated focusing on staff to make the decisions. “I’m looking at the police chief and the manager.  Part of their salary justification is that that is something they have to do. That’s difficult but it’s part of being the boss,” said Heyser.

Police Chief Robert Glenny said he thought the current procedures in police department were satisfactory and expressed concerns about the document. “I’m very comfortable that our personnel complaints policy is one of the best around,” he said.

Glenny said he didn’t know what he would do if he were ordered by the mayor to do something he thought was wrong and that the policy could create issues related to criminal investigations and Garrity rights in cases where police officers were being investigated.

“You’re going to get pushback from the [police] Union,” said Glenny. 

The council will continue its discussion of the policy in November.

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Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at cstangor@gettysburgconnection.org.

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