Schenectady council restores police position

Third assistant job cited as essential; choice of chief awaits

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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— Schenectady will have three assistant police chiefs next year — instead of two — but who will replace Mark Chaires as chief remains to be seen.

The City Council on Wednesday voted to reinstate an assistant police chief’s position that had originally been eliminated in the 2013 budget.

Council President Denise Brucker said council members initially didn’t think more than two assistant chiefs were needed. Currently there are four assistant chiefs. One heads up investigation, another patrol, one personnel and another administration.

“We felt it was top heavy at the time,” she said.

However, Chaires and Mayor Gary McCarthy asked for the job to be restored because of the heavy workload. Chaires, who was not at the meeting, sent a letter to the council, urging restoration of an assistant chief’s position.

Chaires said earlier in the day that an assistant chief handles training, which is particularly important to him to prevent police officers from going off on the wrong track.

“A lot of Schenectady’s problems had to do with HR stuff,” he said, referring to human resources.

An assistant chief also applies for grants and manages the vehicle fleet. The department is also trying to get full accreditation and an assistant chief helps with that process.

Brucker said the council wants to see progress on specific goals that the new chief will develop. Two of her goals would be to reduce the amount of outstanding arrest warrants and collect more outstanding parking fines — estimated at almost $2 million.

Brucker said there was no net impact to the budget by restoring the position because the police department found the funds within its budget.

This brings back the job of Assistant Chief Jack Falvo, who was going to be demoted to lieutenant because of the budget cut. He is in charge of personnel management.

Chaires is retiring Sunday and on Monday will start his new position as executive director of the Hamilton Hill Arts Center. He takes over for Doretha “Penny” Holmes, who is leaving to become director of the after school program Ark Inc. and director of marketing and outreach for the Ark Community Charter School in Troy.

Brucker said she did not know who is going to fill Chaires’ spot. That decision falls to Mayor Gary McCarthy, who was not at the meeting. She estimated that the decision would come sooner rather than later.

Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett could run the department temporarily if the new chief isn’t in place on Jan. 1.

Assistant chiefs Brian Kilcullen, Patrick Leguire and Michael Seber are vying to replace Chaires. McCarthy has stressed that he wants the next police chief to live in the city. None of those three do.

Although Kilcullen has been an assistant chief longer than Leguire, he has been with the department for fewer years and has less seniority. If he does not become police chief, he would be bumped down to lieutenant on Jan. 1.

In other business, the council heard from representatives of the group Schenectady Landlords Influencing Change (SLIC), who said that the city is over-enforcing building codes.

Chris Morris, meeting coordinator for SLIC, contended that officials in St. Paul, Minn. also had a very rigid building code and it was essentially using violations to collect revenues. Because the cost of complying with these tough codes was too burdensome on landlords, they refused to do the work and the buildings fell into further disrepair.

“This results in run-down, decaying property,” he said.

Those landlords who did comply were forced to raise the rents, which hurt minorities and those on fixed incomes.

The matter resulted in a court case that went all the way up to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Fellow SLIC member Mohamed Hafez said a better approach would be to implement what St. Paul did, and create a problem properties program to go after some of the worst code violators.

Brucker said afterward that she encouraged people to report problems with individual code officers so city officials can see if there is a pattern of complaints.

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December 27, 2012
12:02 a.m.
bluelinecop says...

I want to be the first to thank and applaud the mayor and the council for restoring the police chief job. While finances have to be one of the top factors to consider given the situation the city is in, I appreciate the fact they took into consideration the advice of those being directly affected. The department will surely benefit from this decision. As for Chaires retiring "good riddance " and I'm sure you'll see an immediate improvement in operations.

December 27, 2012
5:39 a.m.
cfield says...

Nice cheap shot - care to expand on that thought...

December 27, 2012
8:48 a.m.
gina99 says...

The Democratic rubber stamps on Council prove that they are not serious about the multi-million dollar deficit they created and are only interested in slamming the oppressed property owners. The lack of leadership in City Hall is appalling. We can't afford a Chief and Commissioner.

December 27, 2012
10:14 a.m.
wmarincic says...

All I have to say is that we need more police and the cost will be paid for by the new tax revenue we get because the city wil be a safer place to live. Lt. Brian Bienduga has been doing a great job with the quality of life issues and if we have more officers we will continue to make this city a great place to live again. BTW, on that note, The Gazette really should look at the problems they are creating by printing stories that vilify the SPD as bad guys when just the opposite is true.

December 27, 2012
10:28 a.m.
cfield says...

still waiting blueline...

December 27, 2012
11:04 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Like I said before Nick, not everyone feels the same as you do about Chaires, I would bet that most don't.

December 27, 2012
12:53 p.m.
cfield says...

Nick? Swing and a miss.

What qualifies you to speak for SPD anyway? Oh yeah, you talk to some cops. I would think if they needed to choose a spokeperson - they could do better. At least someone who had done the job

December 27, 2012
1:11 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Sorry Nick, I'm not a spokesperson for the SPD. I'm a citizen with an opinion, you are somebody that should have gone out like Horan did.

December 27, 2012
3:49 p.m.
cfield says...

Nick? Delusional.

Thing about me that bothers you is that you usd to be able to come on these sites and make all kinds of statements unsupported by fact. I call you on it because I know when it's inaccurate.

December 27, 2012
6:12 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Actually no and again you want to treat me like the enemy and I could care less. I'm a supporter of SPD because I saw first hand what the cops in Schenectady had to deal with while being beaten up in the paper for no reason. It does not matter who or what I know, when I come on here it is my opinion, I don't speak for the SPD other than to show support. I have been accused by others for being the mouthpiece of the PBA and others, again, not true and again, I could care less what anyone thinks. You don't like the fact that I don't like Chaires, too bad. Finally, if you are not who I think you are then my apoligies to NC and if I really cared, I would find out who you are, but again, I don't care. Be safe and Happy New Year.

December 27, 2012
9:48 p.m.
bluelinecop says...

Marincic, your comments are spot on with the opinion of 99% of the SPD force and we thank you for your support. I dont believe however that cfield is NC, more like MC. Chaires doesnt have a fan left in that building,hes a horrible leader and lost the support of the guys long ago. The members of SPD do an excellent job in a very dangerous and unappreciated environment and like I said before under new leadership Im sure it will be better highlighted.

December 28, 2012
10:25 a.m.
cfield says...

marincic - only command level officer you have a problem with is the Chief - maybe you're just a bigot.

blueline - specifics - how has Chief prevented you from doing your job?

December 28, 2012
6:10 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Right, ask A.L. what a bigot I am or J.L. or anyone else. I would dislike Chaires, no matter what color he is. That statement sure is telling.

December 28, 2012
11:33 p.m.
cfield says...

Wow, surely you all have something more productive to do. Now I remember why I moved out of state almost 20 years ago.

December 29, 2012
7:27 a.m.
wmarincic says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
December 29, 2012
7:41 a.m.
cfield says...

wrong - you just can't seem to tell the truth. Produce one quote where I "talked crap" about any officer on SPD.

I don't care whether you like the Chief or not and I doubt he would either. You certainly are insignificant when it comes to the field of policing. I have a problem with someone who comes online and says things that are not true. "End of proactive policing", "gave DJ a pass", "friends with DJ". you talk about how Seber and Falvo had no choice in the federal investigation but it was the Chief who wrote a letter requesting leniency for MH.

You have a right to your opinion, although it certainly isn't based on actual knowledge, but whenever you get on this or any other site and say things which are not true I'm calling you on it.


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