After vote, Oxford will likely have new police chief in 2018
● By Steven Hoffman
Members of Oxford Borough Council voted 4-2 in favor of a motion to notify police chief John Slauch that they do not plan to extend his contract after it expires on Dec. 31, 2017.
The vote, which took place at a Sept. 18 council meeting, most likely means that Oxford Borough will have a new police chief running the police department in 2018.
Council members Randy Grace, Peggy Ann Russell, John Thompson, and Gary Tozzo voted in favor of the motion, while council members Sue Lombardi and Paul Matthews opposed it. Council president Ron Hershey was not present at the meeting.
According to Slauch's current contract, the borough council had an obligation to notify the police chief by Sept. 30 whether they intended to negotiate a new contract or not.
Slauch was hired as Oxford’s Chief of Police in 2005. Before he arrived, Oxford Borough went through a period of instability in the police department, with several police chiefs in a row failing to stay even for the length of the initial contract.
In Pennsylvania, the mayor of boroughs has the duty of providing oversight to the operations of the police department, so Geoff Henry, the mayor of Oxford Borough, worked as closely as anyone with Slauch during his time as Oxford's police chief.
“Chief Slauch has served the borough well for the last twelve years,” Henry said. “He has overseen a stable police department. We haven't had a lot of turnover. The officers who have left have gone on to full-time jobs, or in one instance, an officer was recruited to work in the Chester County Detectives Office.”
Henry added that, under Slauch, the police department has prevented crime from rising in the borough.
Slauch's career in law enforcement extended back to when he originally worked as a police officer for the borough in the 1970s.
Borough manager Brian Hoover said that the borough can launch a search for candidates to fill the position or turn to the borough's Civil Service Commission to identify a candidate internally. Borough council also has the authority to appoint an interim police chief until a permanent replacement can be brought on board.
Pam Benjamin, a resident and business owner in town who is running for mayor, expressed her concerns about public safety, saying that good police protection is necessary for both residents and business owners.
In other business at the meeting, borough council approved the appointment of Thomas F. Oeste and the law firm of Buckley Brion McGuire & Morris as the solicitor of the borough's Zoning Hearing Board. The appointment was effective Aug. 28.
Council also approved the adoption of the ordinance amending the regulations for the borough's floodplains. The new ordinance incorporates regulations that have been established at the federal level so that the borough’s own policies are consistent with federal regulations.
Borough council approved a Special Events Permit for an Equality and Justice Rally that is slated to take place on the town green at the Oxford Presbyterian Church on Oct. 6. Borough council also approved the Special Events Permit for the Oxford Methodist Church's Harvest Fair, which is scheduled on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Council approved the appointment of David Ogino to serve on the borough's Zoning Hearing Board. Ogino previously served on the Zoning Hearing Board, and has now opted to serve for another term. Borough council also appointed Zoe Walsh to serve on the Zoning Hearing Board.
Henry issued a proclamation recognizing Artemis Anderson for her 30 years of service to the borough. Anderson has served as the borough's top financial administrator during that time. She was also called upon to serve as an acting borough manager when that position was vacant. Anderson was also involved with community service efforts.
Henry also issued a proclamation declaring October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as a proclamation observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the borough.