Butler Twp. must foot interim chief costs

Township trustees initially said a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy would serve at no cost.

Butler Twp. trustees said they thought they were getting a new police chief for free, but the deal was too good to be true.

Two weeks into acting Chief Rob Streck’s appointment, the township learned they are required by state law to compensate the county for Streck’s services.

Streck is on loan from the sheriff’s office. He replaces former Chief John Cresie, who stepped down this month citing “a loss of leadership” in the township as his reason.

“While there may be an increased cost to having him as acting chief instead of promoting somebody to be acting chief within, he has the experience to do that,” said Nick Brusky, a Butler Twp. trustee.

Brusky said in the last two weeks, Streck has “done a good job as a neutral party helping us out in this transition time.”

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It’s not clear when Butler Twp. will begin the search for a more permanent replacement. Brusky said he expects something to happen this spring.

“The sheriff had good intentions in trying to help out the township through our situation and in the process of negotiating the terms of how Chief Deputy Streck would be working for the township, we came upon this state law,” Brusky said.

Plummer didn’t respond Wednesday to messages seeking comment, but during the Jan. 11 trustees meeting, he said he was a township resident and that that the Sheriff’s Office didn’t want to take over but just help out.

“You know, we have family fights; let’s keep our family fights within these four walls and quit airing our laundry to the media. We’re starting to look like other townships that fight and act like fools,” Plummer said during the Jan. 11 meeting. “I’m offering my Chief Deputy on an interim basis so you guys can do a real police chief search.”

Residents have asked if Streck’s appointment could lead to contracting all police services through the county.

Brusky said earlier this month that the possibility is one he would like to consider.

“When I ran for office, I campaigned on looking into the possibility of using the sheriff’s department to patrol Butler Twp.,” Brusky said. “The best way to move forward here is to look at all the options.”

Trustee Mike Lang, who voted against Streck’s appointment on Jan. 19 and said he was opposed to bringing in regional leadership. Lang said Wednesday that Streck would only work about 20 hours per week and that the township would have to reimburse Montgomery County.

Trustee Joe Flanagan said during the Jan. 11 meeting that Plummer offered Streck’s services for free. During the Jan. 25 meeting, Flanagan said he never expected not to pay for Streck. On Wednesday, Flanagan admitted the inconsistencies and said he was under no illusions that the township wouldn’t have to pay.

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