Oxford Borough Council Approves Contract Separation Agreement for Borough Manager10/21/2020 07:04PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Borough Council unanimously approved a separation agreement and release of the current contract between Brian Hoover and the Borough of Oxford during the meeting on Monday night. Hoover was approved as manager in July of 2016, and his current contract would have ended on Dec. 31, 2021.
Although no figures were discussed publicly, two council members, Amanda Birdwell and Ron Hershey, expressed that the approved agreement provided the best terms council could do for Hoover. Both also expressed displeasure that Hoover was leaving.
Hershey said, “I will be voting for this motion only because it provides the best terms for him. He was well liked by employees. It will be hard for a new manager to come in. He and his wife became part of our community. He showed up at community events. I think the borough is moving backwards. He found ways for us to save money. He may not have been a great fit for this council, but he was a great fit for this borough.”
Birdwell said, “I apologize. I feel I should have been more engaged. I think we failed in working with him. I feel bad for being a part of this.”
A number of business owners spoke highly of Hoover and demanded to know why he was leaving.
Randy Grace, a business owner who also previously served on council, said, “I would like to know what he did wrong. He brought our borough budget under control, modernized our Borough Hall, and our water billing system. He repaired a strained relationship with the police department. He installed LED streetlights all through town. What did he do to cause his contract to be terminated?”
Former Oxford Mainstreet Manager Donna Hossler said she had the same questions Grace had. She also said that she was sad to see Hoover leave.
Business owner Jeff Hamm said, “I concur with what Randy said. This feels like a dagger was put into our stomach and then twisted. Shame on you.”
John McGlothlin, the owner of the Sawmill Grill and Octoraro Hotel, told council, “There is such a division now. We (businesses) feel like we are on the back burner. I cry out to you. We have to make Oxford better. It’s so tense now. We need to move forward. Decisions are being made without anyone knowing why.”
John Thompson, another former council member, told council, “We worked hard to get this guy. You are making a bad decision.”
Council plans to advertise for a new borough manager starting in November.
In other business, council approved Arlene Harris as the interim borough manager until a permanent manager has been approved.
Council also approved Rachel Greer to serve as the assistant right-to-know officer and approved her appointment as interim borough secretary.
In other business, council approved a bid by B.P. Patterson in the amount of $188,434 for installation of a waterline on N. 2nd Street. This is a continuation of Streetscape Phase 4. The remainder of the project, which includes replacement of a storm drain and paving will be done in 2021.
Council member Kathryn Cloyd asked if this would include curbing and sidewalks. Borough engineer Mark Stabolepszy said the project will replace the road in the same general width it is now and would not include curbs and sidewalks.
Public works director John Schaible asked if the stormwater work was removed from the bid that went out due to concern from one property owner, Ware Presbyterian Village. Stabolepszy said it was removed from this project and would go out with the paving project since they are still working with Ware on the design.
Some discussion ensued about the age of the water line and Schaible explained it was probably installed during the 1950s or 1960s. Funding for the waterline will come from the water fund.
Grant writer Pauline Garcia-Allen informed council that Econ continues to work on grants.
“Now that the garage is completed, the Borough might want to rethink how they are paying us,” she said. “I will work on a proposal and bring it back to council. It may save you some money, now that we are in a different phase.”
Police Chief Sam Iacono told council that the Oxford Police Department made an arrest in the recent sexual assault case and that will be moving forward.
During the drug drop-off event sponsored by Tower Health and the Oxford Police Department, 50 pounds of medication was collected.
He also added that they are in the second phase of the civil service process regarding a new hire. All fourteen candidates passed the written exam and will now go through the interview process.
Some Oxford police officers may be sporting a blue beard to raise money for Chester County police officers. Officers pay $75 to participate in the Bluebeard for Chester County Officers charity. The event is held from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
Mayor Phil Harris reported that he, Chief Iacono and Corporal Scott Brown met at the Lighthouse Youth Center to discuss upcoming police policies.
The mayor was invited to take part in a first grade online classroom, which he enjoyed. He said he continues to speak with Emergency Management Coordinator John Reynolds and Oxford Area School District Superintendent David Woods about the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the area.
Council approved a motion to grant preliminary/final plan approval for the land development of Lots 4-9 of the former Ruth S. Coldiron subdivision plan regarding plans dated June 18, 2018, last revised on Aug. 12, 2020. The parcel is divided over the boundary with East Nottingham Township. Council also made a motion to approve a development agreement, financial security agreement, and stormwater best management practices (BMP) and conveyances operation and management agreement for the same property.
Council continues to discuss the borough’s budget and all agreed it is moving in the right direction. They do plan to continue to make it more user-friendly.
During the last public comment of the meeting, resident Joyce Cook thanked council for terminating Brian Hoover.
Randy Teel, a business ownerr and former council member, reminded council that the pandemic is not over. He asked them to keep that in their thoughts as they make budget decisions.
Council president Peggy Ann Russell expressed regrets for the tree removal in front of the Oxford Hotel, but explained it was necessary due to the fact that it affected the traffic signal.
Council also announced that there is an opening on the Planning Commission. Interested residents of Oxford Borough can send a letter of interest to the Oxford Borough, P.O. Box 380, Oxford, PA. 19363 or email to [email protected].