Last night, the borough council of Gilberton, Pennsylvania decided it has finally had enough of its police chief, Mark Kessler--who also doubles as the commander of the "Constitution Security Force," a militia based in Gilberton. By a 6-1 margin, the council voted to suspend Kessler with intent to dismiss, pending a public hearing.
The language of the motion, made by Mayor Mary Lou Hannon, was steeped in legalese, and she was flanked by borough attorneys on both sides.Officially, Kessler was fired for a host of violations. According to WFMZ-TV in Allentown and The Patriot-News, they included using borough-owned automatic attachments to the weapons in his now-infamous YouTube videos, tampering with a borough computer system before his initial suspension, misusing a borough discount card to buy tires for his personal Humvee, failing to turn over weapons to the borough and general dereliction of duty. However, Kessler claims it's solely because of the videos--though the borough council probably would have had ample grounds to fire him on those grounds too had it chosen to do so. Last I checked, there is no First Amendment protection for the kinds of threats Kessler made on those videos.
But the meaning seemed clear enough, even if borough officials wouldn't explain:
Kessler, whose shoot 'em up Internet videos vaulted him to media notoriety and cult-hero status in Second Amendment circles, is marked for termination.
But the borough can't legally pull the trigger just yet.
This, because Kessler has the right to a public hearing over his proposed firing. And the embattled chief, suspended without pay since July 31 for his politically caustic, profanity-laced videos, means to exercise it.
"There will be a public hearing," Kessler's attorney, Joseph Nahas confirmed to the media following the brief meeting.
Nahas and Kessler claim the hearing process is a "kangaroo court," and have vowed to sue the borough if it goes through with the firing. Go right ahead, Mark. Something tells me that testifying under oath is going to be something he'll severely regret later.