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Mayor: West York close to choosing permanent police chief
West York and its acting police chief are in the process of hammering out a contract to make him permanent, according to borough Mayor Shawn Mauck.
The mayor said that, assuming a contract is agreed on, acting Chief Matt Millsaps will take on additional responsibilities and a new title — public safety director.
"Matt will be permanent," Mauck predicted, adding the subject could come up at the next borough council meeting, which is set for Dec. 19.
As public safety director, Millsaps would oversee not only the police department but also the borough's paid firefighters, according to the mayor.
"Right now, (the borough's paid firefighters) don't really have an administrative point person," Mauck said, adding he wants to fix that "deficiency in leadership."
Millsaps said the borough council on Monday agreed to move forward with a plan to appoint him permanently,
"It hasn't been finalized," he said. "It just put the wheels in motion. ... At this point we're trying to work things out."
Seibel out: Mauck said the borough is "going to turn the page" after coming to an agreement with former borough police chief Justin Seibel.
A separation agreement approved Nov. 21 by borough council became effective Monday, the mayor said.
"We were able to part ways amicably and move on, which is good," he said. "We're going to move forward and build on what we're already doing to create a better police department."
Seibel's settlement was just under $150,000 and included back pay, leave time and sick time, according to the mayor. While chief, Seibel had been making about $120,000 a year, Mauck said.
Mauck said he is unable to discuss why Seibel was placed on leave and eventually let go.
Attorney Ed Paskey, who represented Seibel, said he also is not permitted to comment because the separation agreement has nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
"What I can say is Justin enjoyed his time protecting the citizens of West York borough," Paskey said. "He was a dedicated public servant, and he is exploring all options to continue to serve the public going forward ... outside of West York."
The background: Millsaps, 41, of Conewago Township, became a part-time officer in West York in 2006, he said.
That was the same year he took a full-time fire and emergency services position with the U.S. Department of Defense, he has said.
Millsaps was a York County detective from 2002 to 2006, and he worked as a Newberry Township Police officer from 2000 to 2002, he said.
Millsaps was appointed West York's acting police chief Sept. 3, after Seibel was placed on paid administrative leave for undisclosed reasons.
'Whirlwind': The acting chief said being on the job for three months, in addition to his experience as a part-time borough officer, allowed him to step up and make immediate changes as well as formulate both short-term and long-term plans for the department.
"It's been kind of a whirlwind of activity, but I think things are starting to stabilize," Millsaps said. "I look forward to what the future will hold for the police department and the borough."
Asked about department morale, Millsaps said officers recently completed an internal survey that indicated they, too, want to see the department evolve.
"They're very excited about what the future holds," he said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.