KINGSTON – In 2008, Kingston Police Officers were paid cash to provide security at sporting events, and at Wyoming Valley West Middle School dances.
That changed in 2009 when Kingston administrators demanded officers get paid through the municipal payroll.
That way taxes would be deducted, and police and the public would be covered by Kingston`s insurance if someone got hurt.
Right after the policy change, checks from Wyoming Valley West Schools and Wyoming Seminary were paid directly to the municipality, and deposited in Kingston’s account.
But the just-completed internal report, commissioned by Kingston, finds that ban on “under the table” payments didn’t last long.
A year later, checks were being made out to not to the municipality, but Kingston`s Special Police, and were endorsed by former chief Keith Keiper and former assistant chief Dan Hunsinger, for cash to pay the officers directly.
“My reaction was disappointment,” said Mayor Jim Haggerty when he learned of the report’s conclusion.
Haggerty when the moonlighting policy was changed in 2009, police were compensated for the money they’d lose to taxes with a raise from $20, to $35 an hour.
Yet a year later, the investigation shows officers were being paid under the table, this time at the $35 per hour rate.
“And also it appears that steps were taken so it would be hard to discover that the policy was not followed,” added the Mayor.
Haggerty singles out for criticism, former Assistant Chief Dan Hunsinger, who left Kingston to become Chief of Police in Forty Fort in March.
The report claims Hunsinger violated the ban on “Under the table” Pay 111 times, by endorsing checks that should have been paid to the municipality.
“I`ve never seen the written policy,” said Hunsinger. “I`m not saying it doesn`t exist or it didn`t exist at the time. I didn`t see it. I don`t know what the policy said.”
But Haggerty says he would fire Hunsinger if he still worked for Kingston police.
He also accepted Keith Keiper`s resignation as Chief.
Kingston docked Keiper 50 days pay from unused vacation and sick time.
That amounts to a fine of nearly $15,000 for the ex-chief.