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Tarentum moving away from part-time police officers in favor of full-time

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Tarentum is moving away from using part-time police officers in favor of a full-time force.

After a number of personnel moves expected on Thursday, the department could have just one part-time officer and nine who work full time, according to police Chief William Vakulick.

Part of the issue, Vakulick said, is that Tarentum doesn’t pay part-time officers as much as other municipalities do, and the other municipalities pay their part-timers nearly the same rate as Tarentum pays its full-timers.

Tarentum pays part-time officers $15.50 per hour; other departments are paying upwards of $19. Full-time officers in Tarentum start at $22.76 and take six years to get to the full base rate of $32.52, according to the borough.

“It’s hard to get part-time” officers, Vakulick told council Tuesday. “It’s not working out for us.”

Part-time officers come and go so quickly that Vakulick called it a “revolving door,” which is why the department doesn’t invest in training part-timers.

“We can’t,” he said. “It’s money walking out the door.”

On Thursday, council is expected to accept the resignation of part-time Officer David Antal, effective that day. It will also ratify the hiring of Christopher Nablo as a part-time officer, retroactive to Sept. 1.

Vakulick interviewed Nablo, who was brought on to address the lack of manpower and to reduce overtime, borough Manager Michael Nestico said.

Two full-time officers also are slated to be hired. The borough’s Civil Service Commission gave council the names of three eligible candidates, Nestico said.

Of the three, two — Jeremy Howell and Charles Lutz — are currently part-time officers in Tarentum. If both are elevated to full-time, the department would be left with just one part-time officer.

One of the full-time positions is new and was included in the borough’s budget.

The other full-time hire would replace Chris Fabec, who had been a police officer and the borough’s code enforcement officer. Council accepted his resignation in July.

Nestico said the borough has received 13 applications for the code enforcement job, of which six to seven may be interviewed.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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