When the village of Dolgeville settled a discrimination dispute with Marilyn Williams over the police chief’s position she once sought, the former Herkimer County sheriff’s investigator agreed to not seek the job until 2015.
But two weeks ago, the village Board of Trustees voted to ignore that settlement agreement so Williams could once again apply for chief, village and county officials said recently.
Williams also was paid $30,000 by the village and its insurer through the agreement last year, officials said. The board’s vote, however, would not affect the payout that stemmed from Williams’ complaint of being passed over as chief in 2010.
As this unexpected turnaround unfolds, Mayor Bruce Lyon and current provisional police Chief Richard Congdon said they are not sure what this means for future of the department, which employs two full-time and 12 part-time members.
Lyon would prefer to keep Congdon in the temporary position he was appointed to nearly six months ago. “He’s doing a great job, and the people on the street say he’s doing a great job,” Lyon said of Congdon. “Personally, I don’t know why they don’t just reappoint him as provisional chief and get it over with until next year’s Civil Service test.”
At that time, Congdon could again take the chief’s exam — which he did not pass earlier this year — and hope to be appointed as permanent chief.
Lyon said he is not sure what the board plans to do.
Congdon, likewise, said he has been kept out of the loop.
“I love the village of Dolgeville, and I was always treated well here, and I’d love to be chief here as long as I can be,” said the 56-year-old Congdon, of Little Falls. “But, officially, nobody has said anything to me yet.”
None of the village trustees who make the decision, however, could be reached for comment.
Williams, 57, lives in Dolgeville and retired from the county Sheriff’s Office in April. She also unsuccessfully ran for sheriff in 2003 against Christopher Farber.
Although Williams last week declined to discuss her previous complaint against the village, she hoped the board and mayor would not hold that past grievance against her.
“I know the people. I know the community and I care about the community,” Williams said. “If they approached me, I would be willing to do my best to do a good job for them. Let the past be in the past, and move forward.”
The details of Williams’ initial complaint and the terms of the settlement agreement could not be immediately learned last week. GateHouse Media, however, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the state Division of Human Rights to view the agreement.
Page 2 of 2 - Theoretically, the village has until June 23 to appoint a chief or leave the part-time position vacant, Herkimer County Personnel Officer Steven Billings said. That means if the village takes no action by that time, Congdon will have to be removed until someone is appointed, Billings said.
Williams similarly sought the chief’s appointment in 2010 after the retirement of then-Chief Howard Lanphier, but Officer-in-Charge Shannon Davies was appointed provisional chief later that year.