Making their bed, but not lying in it

June 21, 2014

East Washington officials made their bed.

Now, they don’t seem too sure they want to lie in it; or, at the very least, they don’t appear in agreement on the thread-count of the sheets, or their color.

After brushing aside an offer late in 2013 that would have had Washington’s officers handle policing in the borough at a cost of $118,433 per year, and South Strabane Township declining to even submit a proposal, East Washington appeared committed to continuing the status quo of having its own police force. At its May 19 meeting, borough council unanimously agreed to keep the force intact, with the hope of having a reconfigured squad in place by August, consisting of two full-time officers and as many as seven part-timers, rather than the current setup of one full-time officer and 16 part-timers.

However, council appears to have reached a stalemate on how to proceed. At its meeting Monday, it could reach no consensus on advertising new positions, and plans to revamp East Washington’s police department appear to have stalled, at least for the time being.

“We’re still discussing what to do and investigating what to do,” Bill Adams, the council president, told the Observer-Reporter last week. “Obviously, we’re continuing as we are.”

Ah, yes, continuing as we are. That seems to be the mantra in officialdom in this region and across the commonwealth, whether it’s the multiplicity of municipalities inertly carrying on when combining services would be the more sensible, efficient and thrifty route; alcohol sales remaining in state hands; or even the fish and boat and game commissions maintaining separate offices, when joining the two together would save money and, yes, be more convenient for customers.

East Washington’s indecision could have been avoided had it taken up Washington’s offer and let city police keep watch over the borough. Could it be that council is suffering from a twinge of buyer’s remorse?

If so, it wouldn’t be unwarranted.



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