The Gilberton, Pennsylvania city council met on Friday night, the last night of the 30-day suspension of Police Chief Mark Kessler. Kessler was supposed to show up and didn’t, but there are apparently negotiations going on with his attorney. The city is apparently trying to find a way to get out of his contract.
The small town’s potty-mouthed police chief, Mark Kessler, was a no-show with his 30-day suspension set to expire at midnight. And so were his small army of gun-toting supporters, who turned out in force a month ago when council first suspended Kessler for his swearing, shoot ’em up, politically caustic Internet videos.
Mayor Mary Lou Hannon blamed the holdup on a final decision on the police chief’s employment status on Kessler and his attorney, Joseph Nahas. Borough officials and the chief were set to meet in private Friday morning for a hearing on Kessler’s employment contract. But Nahas said he had a conflict. Instead, Nahas and Kessler offered to extend the chief’s unpaid suspension indefinitely until they can hash out a date to meet…
At issue is Kessler’s employment contract with the borough. It runs through December 2015, paying Kessler about $31,000 annually, said Hannon. Clearly, the cash-strapped coal town doesn’t want to be on the hook to pay a police chief who is no longer on the beat, so they are going by the book legally, Hannon indicated.
“We have to follow the law,” Hannon said, following the brief special meeting to extend Kessler’s suspension. “Contract law and things like that,” she added.
They extended his suspension and would like to make a decision next week. I can’t imagine there isn’t a clause in his contract that would allow them to fire him for his behavior over the last few months.