The council voted 4-2 to deny the appointment of Mark Hettinger, Jr. this week from seasonal to full-time employee status with the Department of Public Works.
Councilwomen Randi Duffie and Hedy Grant voted against the move citing the economic difficulties facing residents evidenced, in part, by the increasing number of tax appeals that are being filed by homeowners.
Prior to casting his "no" vote, Councilman Austin Ashley said that given the economic climate, the borough should "pursue a course of attrition" and not replace vacancies.
Responding to this hire, in light of the recent promotions of six police officers to the rank of lieutenant, Ashley asked, "Where are we going to get the money?"
In a surprise turn of events, Council President Howard Berner sided with Duffie, Grant and Ashley and voted "no" to the appointment of Hettinger to a full-time position within the DPW. Berner also cited the need for the borough to watch expenditures given the difficult economic times.
Disappointment in the decision resonated throughout members of the audience, some who were volunteer members of the fire department and had come out to support Hettinger.
One member who asked that his name not be used said,"[Hettinger] works so hard and loves his job. We won't forget this in November."
Hettinger, who was initially hired under contract as a seasonal employee, was being considered to fill one of the two spots vacated by attrition. His contract ends Thursday at which time his employment with the town is terminated.
On Wednesday, three borough employees speaking on the condition of anonymity told Patch, "That decision has crushed morale here. He was such an enthusiastic, hard working kid. We're all pretty upset over it."