New Freedom appoints new council member in 3-minute meeting
The New Freedom Borough Council voted to appoint a new member of the council during a roughly three-minute continuation meeting this week.
The council voted Wednesday, Feb. 21, to appoint Brady Terrell, a councilman of 24 years, to fill the spot vacated by Gene Andrews, who died in January. Terrell had been a council member as recently as December 2017.
Terrell was one of four people who expressed interest in joining the council, according to council president Dennis Sarpen. The other three were not mentioned publicly, nor did the borough council hold any public comment regarding other potential candidates.
At the time of his death, Andrews had just started in his new term on the council, which is scheduled to end in 2022. Terrell will serve until the next municipal election in 2019.
Gene Andrews' widow, Inga Andrews, said she had submitted her letter of interest to take over her husband's old council position. She remembered her husband saying that the job wasn't finished before he died. She intended on picking up where he left off.
"I'm very disappointed," she said.
Wednesday's meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m.at the New Freedom borough building, was a continuation of the previously held council meeting Monday, Feb. 12.
Decision: Sarpen and council member Bruce Merrill said after the meeting that the council decided to appoint Terrell because of his years of experience. They both said Terrell had served as a councilman and council president during his time.
"The community elected him for 24 years running," Merrill said.
Sarpen said there was no public comment regarding the candidates because it is not required. Additionally, he said since the council was in agreement regarding Terrell, there was no need for additional discussion in the meeting.
He said council members had received the information on potential candidates prior to Wednesday's meeting.
Councilman Larry O'Brien voted against appointing Terrell.
Ken Earll was the only council member not present during the meeting. Terrell was also not present during Wednesday's meeting. A message left for a number listed for him was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
Inga Andrews said she had submitted her letter of intent along with multiple letters of recommendation. Additionally, a resident had publicly endorsed her during the last meeting, prompting a round of applause from the nearly 200 people in the crowd.
Resident Joe Velli said he was disappointed in the council.
"It's just a continuing problem of not looking to the people," he said.
Inga Andrews pointed to the "We the people" written on the wall of the room and noted that the council isn't listening to the people.
Velli said he's known Inga Andrews for 30 years and that she is very knowledgeable about is going on.
"She's always been like that," he said.
Inga Andrews said she would have represented her husband's views had she been appointed, which included opinions on the Southern Regional Police Department.
"He loved this police force," she said.
Police: A major point of contention among residents and the council is the council's recent decision to depart from the Southern Regional Police Department. That would leave Glen Rock, Shrewsbury and Stewartstown as the three member municipalities for the department.
Southern Regional Police also serves Railroad and Winterstown on a part-time basis. The department provides services to Southern York County School District as well.
New Freedom officials have maintained the reason for the departure is to have a bigger police force and to have a stronger financial base.
During the last meeting, the council approved a letter to be sent to the three boroughs to consider either merging with another department or to create a committee to try to bring in more municipalities to Southern Regional, which would allow the department to expand.
That letter will be discussed at the next police commission meeting. The commission is made up of officials from each municipality.
Sarpen also said during the first meeting that the council would not consider looking at offers from Southwestern Regional Police or Northern York County Regional Police until there was a complete council during the March meeting.
After Wednesday's meeting, Sarpen said that would depend on what the commission does regarding their letter.
"I'd say the ball's in their court," he said.
Merrill said a larger force would allow for more stability should a municipality pull out. Additionally, he said if officers have are injured and have to go on leave, the effect won't be as great.
The officers, Merrill said, would be preserved at either department should a merger occur.
"It's my understanding that they would be able to maintain all the officers," he said.
However, Merrill said merger discussions can't happen until all municipalities are in agreement on merging, which they are not.
The police commission will meet again at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at the New Freedom office building at 49 E. High St.
New Freedom's next council meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, March 12, at the borough building.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.