YEADON, Pa. – Yeadon Borough Council decided on Thursday to grant Chief Constable Anthony ‘Chachi’ Paparo a due process hearing that will allow him to defend himself against overspending allegations.
The decision comes days after Chief Paparo claimed the newly elected borough council would fire him because he was white.
Yeadon Borough Council met on Thursday afternoon to a crowded room of residents mainly there to support the beleaguered leader. It took two executive suspension sessions for the council to decide on the due process session which will only involve Chief Paparo, his lawyers and members of the Yeadon Borough Council.
“If they see me, you’re still going to see my face in Yeadon,” Chief Paparo told FOX 29. “I love this community, it’s my family.”
Chief Paparo recently declined a three-month severance package during a meeting with Yeadon Mayor Rohan K. Hepkins and Borough Council Chairwoman Sharon Council-Harris.
Paparo has led the Yeadon Borough Police Department for the past five years and his crime-fighting strategies have won praise from the community and Mayor Hepkins.
“If you could clone it, that’s what people would want — chiefs, mayors, chief executives — would want across the country because it reduced crime while being under budget,” Hepkins said. “You would be hard pressed to find that kind of performance, during the pandemic crime has gone down.”
Paparo said he started hearing rumors that the borough council was going to fire him when his contract expired in January. He initially rejected the idea that he would be removed from office, then said he had been given an emotional accusation.
“Residents would come up to me, various people would come up to me and say they were going to fire me in January. I was like ‘go now,'” Paparo said. “Then the rumors started that they wanted a black leader in Yadon.”
Council Chair Sharon-Harris called the accusation of racism “totally absurd”.
“It’s unbelievable and outrageous,” she told FOX 29. “We don’t have to make a decision based on color, we didn’t do it the first time, we won’t. not next time.”
Council-Harris said Paparo’s future was at stake for violating a Fraternal Order of Police contract clause with years of overspending.
“Chief Paparo was liable for two consecutive years for violating the FOP contract clause by awarding overtime to part-time employees to the tune of $387,000 in grievance and fine,” Council-Harris said. “So that’s really the crux of this issue.”
Paparo quickly found overwhelming support from the Yeadon community, which is 90% black. A Change.org petition garnered hundreds of signatures in just days and residents held a public council meeting on Monday to show their support for Paparo.
“This man is much loved in our community, many of his crime fighting tactics have been emulated in neighboring boroughs,” Mayor Hepkins said. “Yes, I’m a black mayor and I want to keep this white police chief because he keeps our community safe.”
The board meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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