Lehigh Valley

Lower Saucon police chief set to retire Friday

Chief Lesser is leaving after 42 years of service

LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - The Lower Saucon Township police chief will retire Friday after 42 years of serving the township.

News of police Chief Guy Lesser's departure was revealed publicly at Wednesday night’s township council meeting when his department’s administrative clerk Gail Van Helmondt  and her husband Herb asked when the chief 's successor would be appointed.

The township's police force was in attendance to hear the Van Helmondts repeatedly quiz council on exactly what the particulars are in the hiring process for a new police chief. 

Council addressed the matter by approving a contract with Matrix Consulting of California who has offered to provide an interim chief, serving primarily in an administrative capacity for up to 12 weeks at a cost of $2,500 per week. Township officials said Lesser was earning just over $1,800 weekly as chief. Matrix is who council hired at the beginning of this year to assess the efficiency of the township’s police department.

Council also explained that township manager Leslie Huhn heads the public safety department, regardless of a vacancy in the chief’s position, and that a procedure is already in place for the police sergeant to cover for Chief Lesser during vacations and sickness.

Last week, the chief gave the township written notice naming Friday’s departure date.  In a statement provided WFMZ.com from Lesser, the chief said he notified township officials in late 2016 that he planned on retiring this year. Lesser said he discussed with the township manager retiring after planning a "smooth transition" in the department's command staff.  Lesser said he made it clear in August that, “barring disaster,” he planned to retire later this month.  

Huhn said a retirement party for Lesser will be held Friday at the township's administrative offices.

In other business, the council heard a presentation from the staff of the IESI Bethlehem Landfill reviewing the conditions of their land development plan for the six-acre expansion and southeastern section realignment.

In the making since January 2015, the landfill's expansion and realignment plan secured its permit from the state's Department of Environmental Protection Sept. 8 following council's approval of the land development.

IESI General Manager Don Hallock of Waste Connections said contractors currently are being mobilized to begin the project within the next week.

Councilwomen Louder and Priscilla Deleon voiced their concerns regarding odors emanating from the site once contractors begin relocating western side garbage to the eastern end. 

Landfill officials said the garbage relocation would not happen until 2023 and assured council they would make every effort to minimize odors. The also promised more comprehensive and accessible record keeping for township review.

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