OP-ED: 'People matter more' receives our Young nod


Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder is our Hiram Young Award winner for April.

The chief shared the story of an ailing police officer and township officials putting people over dollars — a compassionate act that might have gone unnoticed had he not penned a letter to us.

Named in honor of our founder, the recognition is given each month to a letter-writer who weighed in recently on the issues, large and small, affecting our community.

Snyder will be invited to come in for coffee with our editorial board to see how we form our opinions — and perhaps offer his own on the topic of the day.

We choose the winner at the end of each month from among the local op-eds and letters submitted during the previous 30 days.

Opinion submissions should be directed to editorial page editor Patrick DeLany via e-mail at Letters should be 400 words or less, while Other Voices op-eds can be up to 800 words.

For verification purposes, all letters must be signed by the writer and should include his or her full address and daytime telephone number. Call DeLany at 505-5418 with any questions.

Here's Snyder's winning letter:


'Sometimes your people matter more'

In a day where municipal government has become very hostile and distant to employees, I have seen a gesture that needs to be commended and made public.

I am the chief of police in Newberry Township. I have five members of a board of supervisors that I answer to and often have to make requests for equipment, manpower, etc. They are very conservative when it comes to money and township funds. Rightfully so.

But recently I found myself in a bad situation where I have a 30-year employee who is going through significant health issues. They are fighting for their life in a lot of ways and unfortunately, they are unable to work due to the illness and injuries associated with their condition ... cancer.

Part of their fight is mental and to have a goal. The employee's goal is to fight this and eventually come back to work. The odds are against them, but the board of supervisors voted to allow the employee to remain on the police department employee benefit package, to allow the department to hire in the meantime and if the employee returns to work, so be it. Unanimously, I might add.

They said the employee who worked here for 30 years deserved their support. They told me it was the right thing to do. I agreed, and when I told the employee what they decided it was a very emotional moment. Almost in disbelief. While some may say this is not a fiscally responsible decision, sometimes your people matter more than dollars.


Newberry Township Police Department