CLEARFIELD – In a unanimous vote, Clearfield Borough Council approved terminating the position of Michael Hoskavich, a full-time police officer, Thursday night.
Before that vote came down, council held an executive session for more than an hour, and a motion to extend the probationary period of Hoskavich died due to a lack of a second when council reconvened.
Hoskavich’s residency came into consideration during last week’s council work session because he lived in Brockway, well beyond the 12-mile distance from the police station allowed for full-time officers.
Hoskavich became a full-time officer Feb. 18, and his probationary period was set to expire Friday. Before then, he served as a part-time officer for three years.
After council adjourned the meeting, Hoskavich stepped up to address the members and the mayor.
He said he heard that there were issues regarding his residency and went to the borough office last week to explain he would be living with a friend and then would take over that friend’s apartment in a few weeks after he moved.
“I have put my heart and soul into this borough for the last three years,” Hoskavich said, noting that he has helped two council members, Jim Leitzinger and Barry Reddinger, and the mayor, Patty Gilliland, during his time on the force.
Hoskavich said he has a lot of respect for his former boss, Clearfield Borough Police Chief Jeff Rhone.
“What happened tonight is going to put an extra burden on the police department,” Rhone said after Hoskavich addressed council. “We are now short a full-time officer, which means that we are short a person on the streets, and we’re going to have to recover from that somehow.”
Hoskavich also outlined his own record with the department, noting that he had 79 criminal arrests for counts classified as third-degree misdemeanors or higher in the past two years when some other officers had less than half that number. He said that when the Clearfield County DUI Task Force was formed, he set a personal goal to make 50 driving under the influence arrests.
“I was well on my way until I was injured in the line of duty,” Hoskavich said. His shoulder became separated in a recent incident.
“I am an ethical police officer, and I will continue to be in the future, God willing.”
“I just feel you were not given all the information,” he said.
Council members did not comment after the meeting, but solicitor F. Cortez “Chip” Bell said Hoskavich was a full-time officer who was still within his six-month probationary period. According to the union contract with the department, council can decide to terminate “at will” while an officer is on that status.
Bell would not say whether the issue was a disciplinary one, and he said council has not yet discussed what the loss of a full-time officer means for the municipality.
Other police department news at the council meeting included the acceptance of a $40,529 grant for the Clearfield County DUI Strike Force. Council also approved the purchase of a 2006 Ford Expedition program vehicle from Dotts Motor Co. Inc. for a cost of $24,600. The borough will trade in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee for $5,400. Council also approved advertising for a part-time meter attendant who will also wash police vehicles.