Public may get to ask about chief probe

Mayor Tim Hughes said he is willing to ask consultant David Grandeau to appear at a Common Council m
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Mayor Tim Hughes said he is willing to ask consultant David Grandeau to appear at a Common Council meeting to field inquiries from the public, but he questions whether such a meeting would be worthwhile.

Most of what Grandeau investigated for the city — at a cost of $8,000 — is now sealed under the Feb. 11 retirement agreement the city reached with former Police Chief John Harzinski, Hughes said. Under that agreement, Hughes said, both sides agreed not to say anything critical of the other.

Councilman John Castiglione, R-2nd Ward, said he will make a motion at tonight’s council work session proposing that Grandeau make such an appearance.

Grandeau, of David Grandeau & Associates of Niskayuna and the former head of the state Lobby Commission, was hired by the city in December to investigate the police department. The hiring followed Hughes’ decision to suspend Harzinski for a still-unexplained and alleged incident of insubordination. In subsequent court papers, Hughes revealed Grandeau, who is an attorney, would also be reviewing allegations of misuse of city cars and personnel and expense claims.

When the retirement deal was reached, Harzinski said since the city did not file charges against him, he considered himself vindicated.

Since the agreement ended Grandeau’s probe in regard to Harzinski, Hughes said at the time that Grandeau would shift his focus to a review of departmental operations and perhaps continue that with other city departments. But on March 5, the council voted to stop the review.

Hughes said Monday that Grandeau will have little he can share with the public because almost all of his work is covered under the retirement agreement with Harzinski.

It is known that Grandeau, accompanied by a stenographer, took depositions from a number of police officers and other city employees and was going to file a report.

Hughes said he will ask Grandeau if he has information he can share publicly.

Castiglione said he realizes much of Grandeau’s work would either be covered by the agreement or concern confidential personnel issues. But, he said, “I want the public to be able to ask questions.” If Grandeau cannot answer a specific question he can say so, Castiglione said.

“I think the public deserves an opportunity to ask [Grandeau] what’s on their minds,” he said.

As of Monday, Grandeau said he had not been asked to appear at a future council meeting.

“Until I do [hear from city officials], I’m going about my business,” he said.

The work session is to start at 6 p.m.

Categories: Schenectady County

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