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Schenectady assistant police chief may be bumped

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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— The police department is looking at a bit of a shuffle in the near future.

Due to complex bumping rules, Assistant Chief Brian Kilcullen is facing a demotion to lieutenant at the end of the year.

The proposed 2013 budget eliminates Assistant Chief Jack Falvo’s position. He could choose to step down to lieutenant, but Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said Falvo will instead move laterally into one of the other assistant chief positions.

That will push assistant chiefs Michael Seber and Patrick Leguire into new slots. When the game of musical chairs ends, Kilcullen will be left standing.

Of the four assistant chiefs, Kilcullen has the least seniority. He was actually promoted to assistant chief six months before Leguire, but Leguire has worked for the police department longer, so he gets to stay. Kilcullen has to step down.

Falvo has indicated he won’t step down, but Leguire or Seber could choose to take the lieutenant’s position. Bennett said they probably won’t.

“To me it would be unlikely,” he said.

Falvo and Seber also have more than enough years of service to retire, but neither intends to do so, Bennett said.

“So presumably the most junior member, Brian Kilcullen, would bump down to lieutenant,” he said.

The assistant chief position is being eliminated because the city assumed one of the assistant chiefs would be promoted to chief. But the mayor is refusing to promote any of the assistant chiefs to chief because none of them live in the city.

If McCarthy changes his mind, or if Kilcullen moves to the city, he will still have a chance at the big promotion to chief, even as a lieutenant.

He passed the Civil Service promotional exam — as did Seber and Leguire — and is on the list of acceptable candidates for the position. To take the exam, he had to be an assistant chief, but Civil Service says he doesn’t have to remain in that position to be promoted.

“He would still qualify,” Schenectady County spokesman Joseph McQueen said. “If an individual qualifies to take an exam, that does not change.”

His demotion will result in a salary reduction — but Kilcullen could end up with more money and better benefits than he receives as an assistant chief.

As a lieutenant, he can get overtime again. And he might get to accumulate unused sick and vacation time again, too, saving up for a big payout.

When he became assistant chief, he signed a contract agreeing to give up his accumulated sick and vacation time when he retires. In other words, he won’t get paid upon retirement for time off that he didn’t take.

But that contract was not a union agreement. As an assistant chief, he was not a member of the union.

As a lieutenant, he will be back in the union again, and Bennett expects disagreements over the details.

“The union has a responsibility to its members,” he said. “They could ask, ‘Do we have an argument to restore a certain portion of what he gave up?’ ”

He noted that Kilcullen was offered higher pay in exchange for giving up accumulated leave — but that he will no longer be receiving that pay when he’s demoted.

 
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