Hesitant council OKs agreement with ex-city cop Kreitz

Council Thursday night begrudgingly approved an undisclosed settlement agreement between the city and former city police Cpl. Dustin Kreitz.

The terms were not discussed, but Kreitz is no longer a member of the department. Kreitz was not in attendance and has declined to return telephone calls after his relative was asked to get in contact with him.

Kreitz belonged to the Lycoming County Drug Task Force and was part of a state attorney general investigation along with his superior officer, Lt. Thomas Ungard.

As an officer of the law, Kreitz was charged with crimes that, if proven, would have automatically terminated him based on the state Confidence in Law Enforcement Act, which prohibits the employment of persons convicted of certain offenses as law enforcement officers, according to J. David Smith, city assistant solicitor.

Kreitz was suspended without pay and after several years, Kreitz pleaded guilty in court to a charge that said he did not file the proper paper work that he received a television as a gift that was the property of the task force.

“The attorney general’s office accepted a plea for a criminal count that fell below the level of what he could be terminated for under the act,” Smith said.

He received no jail time but was terminated from his employment in the city and had a right under collective bargaining to take the matter to arbitration, Smith said.

The city administration, however, wanted to limit any exposure to an unfavorable result by an arbitrator that may not have the city’s best interest – and potentially would have required the city to have to pay Kreitz considerable amounts of back pay, Smith said. The city finance officer indicated pay in arrears to a police corporal for the amount of time requested to be $300,000.

Rather than take the matter to the arbitrator, Kreitz accepted a written settlement.

Council unanimously accepted the agreement, but the hesitation in their voices when the call for a vote came was evident.

“We have to do this because we have to do this,” Council President Bill Hall said. “Otherwise, I think we would be disinclined.”