GILBERTON — The controversial police chief in Schuylkill County is officially off the job. Chief Mark Kessler retired, but he will receive $30,000 in a settlement with Gilberton borough. Newswatch 16 learned he has also signed a contract for a reality TV show.
Mark Kessler was suspended without pay in July of last year for allegedly using the borough’s automatic weapons without permission.
A legal tug of war began and Kessler threatened to sue. The whole controversy put the community of Gilberton in the national spotlight. John Gownley has lived in Gilberton for more than 60 years.
“It was just one individual that got carried away and things got out of control, it should have been handled better, I think.” Gownley said.
Gilberton and Mark Kessler have ended the controversy by signing a legal agreement.
It reads that Kessler will be paid $30,000, the borough won’t protest any claim he makes for unemployment compensation and that Kessler not contact Gilberton’s officials or their families or criticize them on social media.
Mayor Mary Lou Hannon said she’s happy the agreement was signed.
“It will come out of the general fund. It`s a structured settlement over the next two years and will come out of our general fund. We will not have to raise taxes for this settlement or the attorneys.”
The settlement was signed, but emotions are still high in Gilberton.
“I don’t think he deserves anything, I don’t appreciate his attitude, policeman or not.” Joe Kolonsky said.
Mark Kessler’s attorney confirmed that the former chief has signed a contract for a reality TV Show. It will focus on Kessler’s strong support for the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. Some people wish him success.
Joe Nasbinsky runs Taxi’s bar in Gilberton.
“I thought he was a good cop, a good guy, I think he was a good cop, he did his job here, he kept everything under control.” Nasbinsky said.
We were able to contact Mark Kessler and his attorney by phone. Like the Mayor, both said they are glad it’s over and were able to reach an agreement.
Council will meet next week and decide if they’ll hire another person to police Gilberton.