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Morris remains interim Middletown chief of police after another attempt to remove him

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/22/20

Middletown Borough Councilor Richard Kluskiewicz again sought to remove Dennis Morris as interim police chief during council’s Jan. 15 meeting.

This time, Kluskiewicz’s motion to …

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Morris remains interim Middletown chief of police after another attempt to remove him

Posted

Middletown Borough Councilor Richard Kluskiewicz again sought to remove Dennis Morris as interim police chief during council’s Jan. 15 meeting.

This time, Kluskiewicz’s motion to remove Morris as interim chief and put him back in his previous sergeant’s position with the department was supported by newly elected Councilor Scott Sites, who seconded the motion.

That brought the motion to a vote and it was voted down 5-2, with just Kluskiewicz and Sites voting to remove Morris as interim chief, the position he has held since August 2018 when Mayor James H. Curry III appointed him to the job the same day that George Mouchette, the permanent chief, was charged with sexual assault.

Voting against the motion was Council President Angela Lloyd and Vice President Ian Reddinger, and councilors Dawn Knull, Jenny Miller, and Ellen Willenbecher.

The first time Kluskiewicz called for a vote to remove Morris as interim chief on Nov. 19, his motion died for lack of a second and never came to a vote.

Kluskiewicz declined to provide further comment. Sites did not respond to a request for comment regarding his vote.

While Curry appointed Morris to the interim chief job, the mayor now supports his removal. Curry during the Nov. 19 meeting said that removing Morris was based on the results of two internal investigations and was supported by the advice of the borough solicitor.

Had council voted to replace Morris, it is unclear who the mayor has in mind to fill the position.

Curry told council Jan. 15 that he has talked to someone else that the mayor has in mind, but Curry declined to identify the candidate.

“It’s a two-week situation, assuming what he needs to do in those two weeks turns out well,” he said. He did not respond to a request from the Press & Journal for further comment.

On a related note, council has taken no further action since Nov. 19 concerning its 5-0 vote that night to replace the police chief position with that of a public safety director.

Council is reviewing a draft of a job description for the public safety director position that has been submitted by the borough solicitor, borough Manager Ken Klinepeter told the Press & Journal in an email.

Klinepeter anticipates council will act on whether to adopt the job description, but that action has not occurred yet.

Mouchette is still on the borough payroll and is still officially chief, although he has been suspended without pay since being charged in August 2018 with aggravated indecent assault without consent, criminal attempt-rape forcible compulsion, and unlawful restraint/ serious bodily injury.

Mouchette is to go on trial on the charges in Dauphin County Court on Feb. 10.