The Lebanon city fire chief has been placed on on paid administrative leave, but city officials aren’t saying why.

Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello confirmed that Chief Duane Trautman is on leave after Monday night’s meeting of Lebanon City Council. However, Capello declined to give a reason for the action, saying only that “it’s a personnel matter.”

Trautman had previously confirmed his leave status in a text message exchange with LebTown on Friday evening, March 24. Like Capello, he declined to give a reason.

Contrary to his regular practice, Trautman was not present at City Council on Monday or at last Thursday’s monthly pre-council planning meeting.

Capello said Deputy Fire Chief A.J. Sweitzer is in charge of the city’s fire service.

Unconfirmed rumors of Trautman’s suspension had been circulating among firefighters since the weekend of March 11.

Capello would not say whether Trautman’s leave was for a set time or if further action, such as termination, was being considered. She also did not say when the matter might be resolved.

As fire chief, Trautman is not a member of the city firefighters’ union, according to Capello.

Council handles brief agenda

Also Monday, Capello told council that through Feb. 28, with the year 16.67% complete, revenues were at 15.41% of annual budget projections, and expenses at 10.47%. She noted that only about 1% of expected real estate tax payments had been received so far.

In other business:

  • Council unanimously approved a resolution asking Lebanon County to provide $26,814 to be applied toward repaving 7th Street from the city’s northern boundary south to Poplar Street. Total cost will be about $700,000, with the balance coming from American Recovery Plan (ARPA) funds. Requests for bids are expected to go out within a week.
  • Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to file a grant application with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for 50% of the estimated $202,000 construction costs of a dog park on the site of the demolished Coleman Park swimming pool. The bulk of the balance will come from ARPA funds.
  • Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply to DCNR for a $2,000,000 grant to be used to partially finance the Market Square Transit Intermodal Center, which includes a planned municipal parking garage next to City Hall. The city is holding $1,946,000 from a bond issue earmarked for the project.

Annual curbside yard waste collection in April

The city’s annual curbside yard waste collection is scheduled for Monday, April 17 through Friday, April 21. All yard waste must be curbside by 7 a.m. on April 17, but not before April 14.

More details are available at the city’s website.

Next council meetings

City Council’s next “pre-council” planning meeting will be on Thursday, April 20, at 4:45 p.m. The next regular monthly council meeting will be on Monday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m.

Meetings are also streamed live on YouTube, here.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in council chambers, Room 210, Municipal Building, 400 S. 8th St., Lebanon.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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