Public comment at last night’s Chambersburg Borough Council meeting talked about diversity, equity and inclusion

May 17 – The Chambersburg Borough Council looked at personnel changes within the police department and storage requirements for vehicles in lots at last night’s council meeting.

Borough Council President Allen Coffman joined First News this morning for a recap of the meeting.

The Chambersburg Chief of Police and HR talked about changing some personnel within the police department.

Coffman said, “Makes a lot of sense and what’s even better, it has no impact on the taxes. Everybody likes that.”

The person who was the receptionist in the police department was actually wearing two hats. The suggestions were to have a receptionist that is only doing that job. That passed with no problem. 

Council also looked at storage requirements for vehicles in a lot that would be less than an acre. There are eight of those areas in the borough of Chambersburg.

The question became what could be stored there? It could be anything that didn’t exceed 25 feet in length, but the height requirement was never established.

Coffman said, “There seemed to be some back and forth on that and it was a 5-5 vote and the mayor broke the tie. He agreed that that storage should not be allowed. It wasn’t really a controversy. It was a matter that council was split over the issue.”

The public comment section brought up diversity, equity and inclusion.

Reverend Renata Harper spoke during public comment and said, “This is the reason that the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion must remain at the core of change in Chambersburg. Just as no one desires to work in a hostile work environment where slander, speech or jokes reveal sexist, racists or homophobic sentiments, xenophobic sentiments and belief are equally to be repudiated.”

Coffman said, “It’s back to the diversity, equity and inclusive stuff and that’s fine. We can talk about it and we’ll listen, but that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be an immediate change or we’re going to do anything because somebody makes a comment like that.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are probably more responsible toxic atmospheres around our country in schools and in work places than anything else at the moment.”

Two boys in a Wisconsin school have allegedly been accused of sexual harassment because they slipped up when referring to a classmate who wanted to be called they/them.

Jansen continued, “Other kids came to his rescue and said wait that’s just free speech. You can’t tell him he has to use they/them and it turned into a sexual harassment claim. That’s under the idea of inclusion because we’re having this weird idea that you can never offend anybody in any way, shape or form and if you do you’re creating some kind of a hate crime. That’s creating toxic atmospheres where people walk around on egg shells. They’re afraid of anything they can say that might be interpreted by somebody as a joke. For her to say you have to have this divisive and controversial property of diversity, equity and inclusion in our borough plan is a little ridiculous.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “And how are we going to do that? Are we going to do more training? Are we going to pay for more training? And I can only imagine who’s going to be doing the training here.”

Jansen said, “Which is a lot of ideology. I mean we have a man who shot up a subway in New York, quoting some of this ideology of diversity, equity and inclusion because this is what happens. It’s too much of an extremist point of view.”

Reverend Harper continued during the public comment by saying, “Mr. Mayor and Mr. Stonehill and members of Chambersburg Borough Council, you know that the Chambersburg police force is not involved in rounding up or questioning citizens relative to their immigration status. It is inappropriate to assume that because someone raises chickens or drinks a Corona that they are not here in the United States legally.”

Ryan said, “I almost find that racist.”

Coffman said, “That’s the purpose we use an open microphone. I certainly want to hear what these people are thinking. That doesn’t mean I agree with them.”

Jansen suggested, “I guess that has to do with this person who spoke hyperbolically about and I think they were actually complaining about something else, but then they said and all these illegals and they’re drinking beer and somehow Corona beer somehow came into it.”

Ryan said, “So what the Reverend is asking for is that everybody has to conform. If there’s one person that’s having one problem or a handful of people that are having a handful of problems, then everybody has got to go. It’s much like Tom Wolf. There’s a whole blanket that has to happen with everybody. You all have got to march behind me. You’ve got to go march behind the training. You’ve got to go on the NDO because of one or two, a couple of people like this nutjob in Buffalo. It was one person acting out who was clearly got through the system here that should never have had a gun and should have gotten treatment here, but we want to blanket everything because everybody has to march in step instead of treating one person that has a problem, we have to treat everybody.”

Jansen said, “It’s collectivism.”