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The Times
  • Dolgeville Police Chief Congdon reappointed after public outcry

  • When Monday evening’s village board meeting got under way, only one village trustee was in favor of reappointing Richard Congdon as the provisional Dolgeville police chief.

    But after more than 100 people packed the village fire house to offer their support on Congdon’s behalf, the board was soon convinced to unanimously give Congdon another shot as the temporary chief.

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  • When Monday evening’s village board meeting got under way, only one village trustee was in favor of reappointing Richard Congdon as the provisional Dolgeville police chief.
    But after more than 100 people packed the village fire house to offer their support on Congdon’s behalf, the board was soon convinced to unanimously give Congdon another shot as the temporary chief.
    Congdon, 56, will now remain provisional chief until the next civil service exam is given in March 2013, at which time Congdon will have a second chance to pass the test and be eligible for a permanent appointment.
    “It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” Congdon said Tuesday. “With people getting up and just telling the board I was a great chief, that I was doing a good job, it was very humbling to listen to what people thought of me.”
     The same board voted 3-1 last month to give another chief hopeful — former Herkimer County sheriff’s investigator Marilyn Williams — a chance to seek the position permanently, following a discrimination settlement that stated she would not seek the job again until 2014.
    The board’s about-face Monday following the unexpected turnout by Congdon’s supporters, however, made clear that public officials do have to answer to the people who elect them, Mayor Bruce Lyon said.
    “Now the board sees that people are paying attention to what’s going on in the village of Dolgeville, and they want results that benefit the whole village, not just a few people,” Lyon said. “That’s what politics and running a village should be all about.”
    “I’m very pleased with the way things turned out, and I think the people in the village are pleased also,” said Lyon, who had preferred to keep Congdon in the temporary position following his appointment six months ago.
    Some board trustees, however — particularly Trustee Gary Luther — had believed that Williams would have been a fitting appointment as permanent chief.
    “I believe we can work with Williams to reduce the (department’s budget of $320,000) to enable us to fund other needed projects in the village,” Luther wrote in a letter to the editor published in The Times and The Telegram on Monday. “It only makes sense to proceed with someone that has the necessary qualifications and is a resident and taxpayer of the village.”
    Both Williams, 57, of Dolgeville, and Congdon, of Little Falls, attended Monday’s meeting.
    Although Williams had since expressed interest in being considered for police chief, she was never formally added to the certified list of only two other candidates: James Lorenzoni and James Getman, Jr. If Williams had been added, then the board would only have been able to choose one of the three.
    Trustee Donna Loucks made a motion at the beginning of the meeting to reappoint Congdon, but none of the trustees seconded her motion. That all changed, though, after about two hours of comments, interruptions and standing ovations from the public.
    Page 2 of 2 - When Loucks made the same motion again later that night, the crowed erupted in a round of applause once a second trustee supported the motion.
    “I’ll just keep doing the job that I’m doing, and have the men and woman at our department do the job they’ve been doing,” said Congdon, who oversees two full-time and 12 part-time officers.
    As for Williams, village attorney Norman Mastromoro said the board never voted Monday night to approve a final written agreement allowing her to reapply for chief ahead of the 2014 date she agreed to in a civil settlement last year.
    Williams was previously paid $30,000 to settle a discrimination complaint against the village after she was passed over for the chief’s position in 2010.
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