Thursday, August 9, 2018

Police Chief, Borough Manager Get 2-Year Contracts

Photos by Evan Brandt

Newly hired Police Chief Mick Markovich, left, and Borough Manager Justin Keller, right, pause for a photo with Pottstown Borough Council President Dan Weand.

It may have taken longer than it should have, but borough council finally got its act together enough to agree on contracts for two of the most important posts in borough government last night.

After starting its meeting by going into closed-door executive session to discuss "personnel," council returned and announced it would be adding two items to the end of the agenda.

Not that anyone was surprised.

It was common knowledge that Interim Borough Manager Justin Keller and Interim Police Chief Mick Markovich were both destined to have the "interim" removed from their nameplates at the first meeting in August.

It just took council some time work out the details of two contracts which are, according to Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. almost identical.

Both contracts expire on Dec. 31, 2019.

The salaries for both contracts are retroactive to the first of the year. Keller will be paid $107,000 per year and Markovich will be paid $110,000 per year.

Because Markovich has more years with the borough, he will receive five weeks vacation while Keller only gets three.

Both get 12 sick days, as well as a borough vehicle to drive and the same health benefits and pension that every other borough manager gets, according to Garner.

Hired two years ago this month as assistant borough manager, Keller became interim manager on Jan. 1, with the retirement of the man who hired him, former borough manager Mark Flanders.

Before hiring him permanently, council altered the borough manager ordinance, removing the provision that required Keller to live in the borough. Although he had lived in the borough, Keller now lives in Audubon.

While pleased to have the position made permanent, Keller said he has been doing the job for several months and is now focused on increasing revenues and trying to lower costs for next year's budget.

That will be a tall order given that the mid-year adjustments Keller reported to council last night mostly included cost increases.

Markovich replaces former chief Rick Drumheller, who retired last month, 18 months earlier than he had previously planned.

Markovich's appointment comes only a month after was named interim police chief and by-passed Police Captain Robert Thomas, who, at least according to previous borough practice, many thought would get the job.

Markovich said becoming a chief of police had always been one of his career goals, "I just didn't think it would happen so soon."

"I'm excited to lead this department and to be of service to the borough," Markovich said. He said he hopes to "re-allocate some of the staff to the busier times, and to the downtown business district."

Other plans, he said, he will share when they are ready to be announced.

Congratulations to both and good luck.

Now, if they can just find a fire chief .....

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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