Council correctly questions mayor’s illogical police move

The city of Williamsport hired a career state police leader, David J. Young, to replace “retiring” Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman in the spring.

Since being hired, Chief Young has shown himself to be what would be expected of a career crimefighter. He is firm, organized, goal-oriented and disciplined, all qualities that will improve the Williamsport Bureau of Police.

There has been no evidence that Chief Young needs a year of tutoring or babysitting in his job.

So why then was Chief Foresman’s retirement shelved at the last minute in favor of a year’s worth of consulting at a cost of $87,000 to taxpayers? We’ve been asking that question since the mysterious maneuver happened. Council members say they’ve been asked the same question in the community.

Finally, a week ago, City Council, which has been reviewing city operations as they relate and the performance of Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, called on the mayor to demote Foresman from his deputy chief/consultant status.

Had the mayor made Foresman a sergeant in the spring, the city would have one more police officer on the streets by now. Mayor Campana says that, because Young receives no benefits based on his state police status, the city is saving between $25,000 and $30,000 with his hire. He should be looking for ways to save tax dollars rather than finding ways to spend any savings.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the tenets of Foresman’s position are unnecessary and the move is mysterious. The mayor, under the city’s form of government, had the right to make the move. But it has not been the correct or logical move since Day One and we are heartened City Council is taking a stronger, more public look at these questionable decisions.

Council President Jonathan Williamson says council has turned up additional issues in recent days in its review of the office of mayor. We look forward to council’s findings and call on the mayor to take the former police chief off the command staff.