South Williamsport Borough officials confirmed Monday evening that an interim police chief has been named to replace Terry O'Connell.
Mayor David J. Lechniak and Safety Committee Chairman Dan Cupp said at the borough council meeting that Robert Hetner, a 31-year veteran of the South Williamsport Police Department, now is the interim chief.
Action came last Thursday evening at a special executive session, however the Mayor, Cupp and Borough Manager Michael D. Miller did not reveal much on the matter, with Cupp only saying that there was "a difference in philosophies in how to run the police department."
Miller and Cupp did say that O'Connell was offered an early retirement package or could accept a new assignment at the rank of sergeant.
"If he comes back, he comes back as a sergeant," Lechniak said. "He has a lot of decisions to make."
Hetner, who was named Police Officer of the Year by Traveler's Protective Association Post-W last year, said he is eager to begin duties as interim chief.
He most recently served as captain and is the school resource officer at East Lycoming School District. Hetner said he is resigning from that position at the end of the school year in June.
"I appreciate the trust and support they put in me," Hetner said of council. "I'm hoping to build on the positive things that Chief O'Connell has enhanced over the years."
Along with his service on the police force, Hetner said he has been active in ambulance and fire service in the borough.
O'Connell was not present at the council meeting.
In other business, council preliminary approved federal Community Development Block Grant money to be used to help offset costs to replace faulty sewer laterals for lower-income households.
The borough will have about $82,000 for eligible families who meet income guidelines. The funding is administered by SEDA-Council of Governments, which is paid about $18,000 to do so.
Glenda Ruch, SEDA-COG project coordinator, said representatives from the organization can meet with homeowners to help determine eligibility.
Final approval of the CDBG money will come at a public hearing at borough hall March 12.
Council also heard from Bob Weaver, of Larson Design Group, who spoke on behalf of Steve Shannon, of Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Centers. Weaver asked council to approve several variances to Shannon's land development plan for a new service center, which would border both Hastings and Market streets.
Some council members said they were concerned about pedestrian and vehicle safety where the structure would be built.
"There are access and safety issues in and out of that facility," said Councilman Richard D. Harris Jr.
Council declined to approve any plans for the building and referred the issue to its safety committee for review.