Termination Process Begins Against Suspended Police Chief

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GILBERTON -- Termination proceedings have begun against a controversial police chief in Schuylkill County.

Gilberton council voted to continue Chief Mark Kessler’s suspension pending his termination.

Kessler was suspended from his job on July 31 after he posted videos online, showing him firing automatic weapons and cursing.

Kessler’s attorney said council is using trumped up allegations to get his client fired, and they plan to appeal.

“I ask council to make a motion to suspend Mark Kessler pending termination of his employment,” said Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon.

With a vote of six to one, Gilberton Borough Council voted to continue Police Chief Mark Kessler`s job suspension as his termination process moves forward.

The vote came hours after the chief and his attorney met with the mayor and borough solicitors for a disciplinary hearing.

“I truly hope the people of this town wake up and just clean house, it`s time for a change,” said Kessler. “These people have a death grip on this town for long before my time, you know I`m just glad I don`t live here to be persecuted by these people that run this borough.”

Kessler is heard swearing and seen firing off fully automatic weapons, which council said are borough property.

Kessler and his attorney Joe Nahas believe borough officials want Kessler out because of those videos, but said at the disciplinary hearing, the mayor brought bogus allegations against Kessler to justify removing him from his job.

“One accusation is neglect of duties, whereby they said he didn`t file reports in a timely fashion,” said Nahas. “Another one was that he mishandled borough property, whereby he didn`t hand in the guns to the borough.”

Nahas and Kessler said they voluntarily handed over the guns from the videos to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

“We didn`t feel comfortable having the weapons here, and we felt it might be a violation of law to put them anywhere else. He is the only police officer in the borough, and we didn`t think it was appropriate to hand it over to borough officials,” said Nahas.

Kessler has a right to appeal this decision.

His attorney said they plan to ask for a hearing.