Police chief, city reach deal

The city and suspended Police Chief John Harzinski reached an agreement Monday that terminates Harzi

The city and suspended Police Chief John Harzinski reached an agreement Monday that terminates Harzinski’s court case against the city while allowing him to retire on June 30.

The Common Council approved the agreement Monday night after a lengthy executive session. Under terms of the agreement, Harzinski will be paid for 50 vacation days, 54 sick days and 10 holidays. He will not return to work, but may contribute until his retirement date as a consultant.

There is also a stipulation that David Grandeau, the consultant hired by the city to investigate the police department, will not address any issues regarding Harzinski’s suspension and will instead focus on ways to improve department operations, officials said.

Harzinski seemed pleased with the settlement. “Since no charges have come forth, I consider this to be a complete vindication,” he said. He noted that he served the city for 32 years and said he wanted to assure the public “I have not betrayed their trust.”

The city’s labor attorney, Bryan J. Goldberger, said both sides will now file a stipulation of discontinuance with the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, which is currently considering lifting a stay that prevented Harzinski from returning to work. He was suspended Dec. 6 for alleged insubordination, but Mayor Tim Hughes revealed in court papers that Grandeau was also investigating allegations of misuse of city cars, personnel and expenses.

After Supreme Court Judge Richard T. Aulisi ruled in January that the city did not afford Harzinski his civil service protections and ordered that he be restored to active duty, the city appealed to the Appellate Division.

Under law, the appeal automatically stayed Aulisi’s order, but Harzinski’s lawyer, John Poklemba, obtained an order to show cause asking the Appellate Court to consider lifting the stay. Legal briefs on that issue were due Monday.

The appeals court was then scheduled to review Aulisi’s decision, but that is now also concluded with the settlement.

As part of the agreement with Harzinski, he will be available to the city for consulting services on an as-needed basis.

Acting Chief Edgar Beaudin will remain in charge while city officials discuss choosing a successor to Harzinski, officials said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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