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Lancaster Township approves police contract

Lancaster Township supervisors dedicate a new local flag
Lancaster Township supervisors dedicated a new local flag Monday, Nov. 20, replacing its previous flag lost during renovations. From left, township solicitor John Bench; chairman Greg Kessler, supervisor; vice chairman Joe Plesniak, supervisor; and Tim Zinkham, supervisor. Austin Uram/Butler Eagle
Full-time officer to be added

LANCASTER TWP — Supervisors approved a new police contract Monday, Nov. 20, with the Lancaster Township Police Department.

“The current contract we have from Jan. 1, 2019, and it expires Dec. 31, 2023,” said chairman Greg Kessler, supervisor. “Through the months of October and November, we’ve been in talks with the union.”

Kessler said the renewed contract would run for a two-year term from Jan. 1, 2024 to Dec. 31, 2025.

“At a high level, there’s been gives-and-takes by both parties,” he said.

The new contract will include a 4% salary increase for officers in year one, according to Kessler, followed by a 3.5% increase.

“Also, an important change to the existing contract that we did: There will be a contribution by each of the employees for healthcare,” he said.

Following the contract approval, supervisors also agreed to advertise for the hiring of another full-time officer for the department.

Kessler said the addition of a full-time officer stemmed from a conversation with Sgt. Michael Cornell last week.

“It appears we are going to lose one of the part-time employees to a local township, full-time position,” he said. “Which puts us in a situation where we’re short.”

The township and the police department also shared concerns over other “flight risks,” according to Kessler, with neighboring departments drawing them away.

“It’s a concern of ours,” he said. “We’re losing good officers to local townships that will pay more money.”

Vice chairman Joe Plesniak said investing in another full-time officer would help provide a level of commitment to the department.

“You can keep a staffed full-time officer instead of relying on part-time officers — where you have to do a ride-along for a certain period of time, you have to equip them, you have to train them,” he said. “You have them for a short period of time and then they get a job opportunity with another municipality, so you’ve lost all that.”

Hoisting a flag

Supervisors also dedicated a new township flag for the municipal building, replacing an existing flag that went missing during renovations.

Kathy Ligday, vice president of the Lancaster Township Historical Records Committee, said the original flag was designed by her son.

“Somehow it got lost,” she said. “That’s all I can say: It got lost. We looked everywhere.”

The flag was originally designed to be included alongside other municipalities’ flags at the Seneca Valley High School, according to Ligday, and featured a yellow background.

She said the historical records committee and supervisors partnered to purchase the replacement flag, bearing the same township crest on a new white background.

“The logo is the same, but our colors are white and sky blue,” she said. “It’s really, really beautiful.”

Kessler provided the flag’s formal dedication for the public.

“The dedication of the local flag is a ceremony that honors the history and values of the people in the community,” he said. “It’s a way of showing respect and gratitude to those who have contributed to the development and well-being of the area.”

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