The Times
  • Village board discusses vacant chief’s position

  • With Howard Lanphier leaving the Dolgeville Police Department to assume the role of director of the Herkimer County Child Advocacy Center, the village is in need of police chief.

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  • With Howard Lanphier leaving the Dolgeville Police Department to assume the role of director of the Herkimer County Child Advocacy Center, the village is in need of police chief.
    The board of trustees took the first steps towards filling the vacancy Thursday by meeting with county Personnel Officer Steve Billings. And while they are not yet ready to send canvass letters to the seven individuals on the county’s civil service list, the board members indicated they would go through the county personnel department when they do.
    “Before the board canvasses the candidates they have to determine if the position is going to be full- or part-time and what the salary range will be,” said Mayor Bruce Lyon.
    The board also has other options to consider, which include reinstating a retired police chief to fill the vacancy on a part-time basis, if that is the direction they chose to take, or making a provisional appointment, pending the results of the next exam, should less than three people express interest.
    “The village will have to choose from a mandatory eligible list, which consists of at least three candidates who respond to the letters, to fill the vacancy,” said Billings. “But if fewer than three candidates respond, the village will be able to consider candidates who will take the next civil service exam along with any candidates who respond to the letter. Before my office can issue the letters, however, we will need to know if the position is full- or part-time and the salary range.”
    He added that when the letters are issued, candidates will have seven days to respond.
    Billings also said that reinstating someone who previously held the title of police chief, as long as they still had police powers, and a transfer from another department are available options.
    “A lot will depend on the kind of position it is,” he said. “Is it an administrative position or is it a working position? If the chief, as part of his or her duties, is required to patrol the streets, then the village would need someone who has the ability to issue tickets. But if the position consists of things like filing reports and scheduling, then having the ability to issue tickets is not as important.”
    Trustee Larry Brandow raised the question of appointing a commissioner rather than a chief.
    “It could result in a monetary savings,” he said. “For that reason, it’s something worth looking into.”
    Trustee Donna Loucks questioned how having a police chief or commissioner who is unable to issue tickets or make arrests on duty would impact the budget. “We would have to pay the chief or commissioner to do the administrative work, but we would also have to pay another officer to work during the shift to patrol the streets,” she said. “I’m not sure if that would result in a savings.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Shannon Davies has been appointed to serve as officer in charge in the absence of Lanphier, an appointment that Billings said could last as long as three months.
    “This shouldn’t linger,” he said.
    The village of Frankfort recently canvassed candidates for its police chief’s position.
    Letters were sent to six candidates, including James Goldsmith, a retired Utica police officer who works part-time with the town of Frankfort Police Department; Scott Beach, who retired from the Little Falls Police Department and is pursuing a degree in nursing; John Brucker, a retired Utica police officer and current Newport town councilman; John Harrington, an officer with the Inlet Police Department; John McAvoy, the assistant director of campus safety at Herkimer County Community College; and Marilyn Williams, a current member of the Herkimer County Sheriff's Department.
    Laurie DeVaul, a captain with the Ilion Police Department, is also on the civil service list, however, she was not sent a canvass letter because she previously expressed no interest in the position.
    Beach, Brucker and Goldsmith returned acceptance letters, however, Brucker’s acceptance was restricted due to the expiration of his classification from a state Division of Criminal Justice Services course, which allows a police chief to make arrests and serve in a non-administrative capacity.
    The Frankfort village  board will meet on June 24 to discuss its options.
    Billings said the last police chief’s exam was issued in 2007 and that the results are good for four years, adding that the next exam is scheduled to be issued in March or April 2011.

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