Monday, August 31, 2015
Why Is Nazareth Mayor Blowin' Oil?
There comes a time in ones life to throw up your arms and just give in. NOT ME! I am in it to win it. Throw what you want at me. There is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel and I know how to find it. I will not be intimidated or controlled! Take your best shot and most likely it will be your last.
I'm unsure exactly who his enemies are because he never names them. But he has made few friends among full time Nazareth police officers. He and Borough Council recently fired Adam Shimer, a military veteran and Nazareth resident, just days before his probation was set to expire. Officers from other police departments, many of whom know Shimer, consider him a good cop. They consider this termination "chickenshit" from a Mayor and Council intent on destroying good cops and replacing them with those who will do their bidding and let them know when the next gambling raid is coming and who is working undercover at the clubs.
I cover Hanover and Bethlehem Township for a local weekly. Elected officials there only get involved in police budgetary considerations. They leave police operations to the police. It's much different in Nazareth and many other small communities, where Mayors intercede in matters as minor as a parking ticket and many just happen to be involved in the social clubs.
Nazareth is currently facing three civil rights suits filed by current (Stephen Schleigh, Fred Lahovski) and former (Connie McGinniss) police officers. That alone should send off all kinds of warning signals that something is seriously amiss.
But that's not all.
A civil rights suit has also been been filed over the death of Timothy Nixon, who was battling mental illness and shot himself when part-time Officer Danny Troxell, a full-time wannabe and protege of Chief Thomas Trachta, barged into his apartment building.
Nazareth Police Department and Troxell were sued over the use of excessive force on a man who was repeatedly tased while handcuffed, inside of a police vehicle. That matter was settled prior to trial. (Hendricks v. Swan, et al., Eastern District of Pennsylvania, # 11-cv-7394).
Chief Thomas Trachta and Troxell unlawfully prosecuted three Borough residents for exercising their First Amendment rights by allegedly posting small postage stamp stickers urging the dismissal of Chief Trachta. Magisterial District Judge Jackie Taschner admonished Trachta that sometimes, “You have to suck it up, cupcake.”
Instead of doing that, Trachta next fired school crossing guard Karen Herbst because her husband dared run against Mayor Strye.
Officer Lahovski's complaint, which has survived a Motion to Dismiss, details a series of unlawful retaliatory actions taken by the Nazareth and Trachta. They show an utter disregard for the constitutional and legal rights of residents and some individuals within the Department. Officer Schleig's lawsuit is a mirror image, listing all kinds of retaliatory actions taken against him for union activity, including the refusal to provide a proper uniform.
Now Borough Council did order an investigation into its police department’s operations. But they rejected the report when it came back highly critical of them and the Chief. When I confronted Council over this study, they denied its existence twice during open meetings.
When Nazareth hired Randy Miller as Deputy Chief, I though things would improve. They've grown worse. Now it's a top heavy department with too many chiefs. Miller did nothing to stop the unnecessary termination of Officer Shimer while civil rights violator Troxelll is allowed to come and go as he pleases. He appears to have been brought aboard as a union buster, not a police officer.
Nazareth condones and ratifies violations of Constitutional and legal rights by certain officers and the Chief. They have hired lawyers to scour the sagebush and bayous of southern circuit courts to find opinions friendly to their view, which seems to be that the Constitution has no application in Nazareth. They will fail.
Now that Shimer has been shoved aside, the door is open for Trachta to insert Troxell as a full-time officer.
Against this backdrop, I find it astonishing that Strye is lashing out the way he is.
Very few people are willing to publicly criticize elected officials. Most keep their heads down, while others become sycophants who blow smoke up the asses of these officials, instead of being honest with them.
On Strye's page, one of his cheerleaders actually states, "A lion doesn't need the approval of sheep."
That comment betrays a rather condescending opinion towards the people that any elected officials is supposed to serve. I always thought of government officials as servants, not lions.
Wolves might be a more appropriate word.