An unusually long Honesdale borough council meeting on August 12 was dominated by citizen input and timely addressing of vacancies in the police department and borough council.
Police Chief Joseph LoBasso resigned, effective July 31, to accept the newly-created position of security director at Wayne Highlands School District. His departure leaves at least two, and possibly three, vacancies on the Honesdale police force.
Identifying himself as a 25-year veteran of the Honesdale police department, Sergeant Donald Bishop addressed the council during the citizen input segment of the meeting, requesting that the council hire a working chief to fill the vacancy created by LoBasso’s departure. Bishop explained that a working chief performs all the regular duties of a police officer, in addition
to the administrative tasks required of the police chief.
Noting that the borough’s police department currently has the same staffing level it had in 1990 and that the number of reported incidents has roughly doubled since then, Bishop requested that the council hire three new full-time officers immediately. To do less, he maintained, would place in jeopardy the safety of both citizens and officers.
Sergeant Ron Kominski, who routinely acted as LoBasso’s back-up when the former chief was unavailable, has been named officer in charge until a new chief is hired. Borough Council President F. J. Monaghan announced that there are currently nine candidates for police chief. He urged the council to act quickly on filling that vacancy, selecting August 28 as the date for a special council meeting with the express purpose of conducting candidate interviews.
The council turned its attention to filling the vacancy left by Councilman Mike Slish, who resigned on July 17, after citing the need to devote more time to his career and growing family than his council duties would permit. The youngest member of the council, Slish served as Parks & Recreation Committee chair, and was a member of the Finance Committee as well. He was proactive in making top-quality recreation facilities available to special needs children, and will continue to work with the Leaps and Bounds group toward achieving that goal.
Monaghan read the resumes of the two candidates for Slish’s vacancy: Barbara Conklin and Samuel B. Mikulak. Noting that both candidates were worthy of the vacant council seat, council vice president James Brennan advised that Barbara Conklin had not met the residency requirement and was therefore ineligible for a council seat at this time, but that in future she would certainly be a viable candidate.
With the endorsement of Mayor Ed Langendoerfer and several council members, Mikulak, who was present at the meeting, was informed that he had been appointed to fill Slish’s term, which is up for vote in the November 2013 general election. Mikulak was sworn in on the spot by Langendoerfer and assumed Slish’s vacant spot at the council table, voting on the remainder of items brought before the council that night. A long-time borough resident, Mikulak has served as a Honesdale volunteer fireman for over 30 years.