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Ridley Park Council said farewell to retiring Police Chief Tom Byrne at its recent borough meeting and appointed Mark Bascelli as acting chief. Byrne has been chief for ten years and a member of the borough police department since 1988. In a DelCo New Newtork article correspondent Barbara Ormsby writes that Byrne started his career in law enforcement as a patrolman in Parkside Borough.
Cpl. Bascelli, 50, came to the borough police department 24 years ago. He served as a Delaware County deputy sheriff for six years. His brother, Francis Bascelli, Jr., is a police lieutenant in Ridley Township.
Council appointed Steve Corsi as a full-time police officer and two new part-time officers just hired are Michael Murphy of Haverford, and Thomas Byrne. Jr. of Tinicum, son of the retiring chief. Byrne is also a part-time police officer in Eddystone and is captain of the Boeing Company Fire Department.
Council also thanked junior council member Brian Cruise for his service. A new junior member will be appointed in January.
In other borough news, Council Member Samantha Snow said Christmas trees can be placed on the curb for collection through Jan. 18.
Snow also announced that the borough will end its 125th anniversary year with a New Year's Eve gala at the Barnstormers Theater. The event will be 9p.m. to 1a.m. Tickets are $35 and the price includes a buffet dinner, music, favors and a champagne toast. Revelers may bring their own alcoholic beverages.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, former Council Member Len Pinto and Council Members Sue Murtha and Jared Brennan had a verbal confrontation that started when Pinto criticized Murtha about her performance as a member of council. Murtha said that Pinto and others have been telling her for several months to leave council.
“I can tell you, it is not going to happen,” Murtha said.
“We are all neighbors first, that's why you are here, to serve the people,” Pinto told Murtha, asking her what she had done during her time on council.
Brennan told Pinto his remarks were of a personal nature and he defended Murtha's work on council, saying that she had prepared the budget for the past three years.
At times the exchange grew heated and Council President Bob Berger rapped his gavel for order.
Murtha and Brennan were instrumental in circulating a petition in the community asking PennDOT to consider other options in the design of the Sellers Avenue bridge over Amtrak's right-of-way that is to be replaced in 2014. The two have clashed with other elected officials over the bridge issue, and there have been other areas of disagreement at council meetings over the past several months.