Meeting will not include Grandeau

David Grandeau, the consultant and attorney hired for $8,000 to investigate the city Police Departme

David Grandeau, the consultant and attorney hired for $8,000 to investigate the city Police Department, will not be coming back to Gloversville to answer questions about his probe.

Mayor Tim Hughes made the announcement after Tuesday’s Common Council meeting. Hughes said a meeting would be unproductive because Grandeau did not finish his investigation and confidentiality restrictions would prevent him from discussing what he did learn before a February settlement with suspended Chief John Harzinski halted his work.

The council, responding to public interest in the settlement terms that will pay Harzinski more than $80,000 through June 30 while sealing the work of Grandeau, voted last month to invite Grandeau to a future meeting at which he would field residents’ questions.

Deputy City Historian Judy Marcoux read a prepared statement Tuesday criticizing the council’s approval of the settlement terms, but advising officials that the confidentiality provisions make any meeting with Grandeau meaningless.

Grandeau’s inability to answer questions would infuriate people, she said. Saying she believes that council members did not fully understand the terms they approved, she said the agreement, “is what it is. … You need to leave it alone. … We need to move on.”

After the meeting, Hughes said, given the restrictions, “what kind of questions could [Grandeau] answer?”

Harzinski was suspended in December for alleged insubordination, but allegations were never fully explained. He filed suit to return to active duty, but the settlement concluded the litigation.

In other business on Tuesday:

The council deferred adoption of a new sidewalk replacement program until a committee proposal can be discussed at the April 8 work session. A three-member committee proposed choosing 12 new properties for sidewalk replacement under a system imposing a $65,000 income ceiling, limiting eligibility to owner-occupied one- and two-family houses and giving preference to one senior citizen [age 62 and up] in each of the six city wards.

Committee Chairman Matthew Myers, R-5th Ward, said while discussion continues in April, the city will begin replacing the 12 sidewalks chosen last fall. Property owners would pay $1 per square foot under the proposal and city crews would perform the work.

But, Hughes said he will ask the council to consider using a $75,000 state sidewalk replacement grant to hire private contractors to complete the project.

Councilman John Castiglione, R-1st Ward, was adamant Tuesday that seniors on fixed incomes (77 identified with incomes of less than $17,000) should receive first preference for replacements.

Hughes, concurring with a plea from the board of the Business Improvement District, asked the council to consider expediting the hiring of two new police officers.

Hughes asked that his proposal be discussed at the April work session. The budget allows for 32 officers. There are currently 31 officers on the roster, including Harzinski who is effectively retired already, one officer serving in Iraq until October, another at the police academy and a fourth still in departmental training.

In a department that works best with 20 uniformed officers — four per shift — acting Chief Edgar Beaudin said there are now 19 patrol officers on the roster but only 16 available.

Members of the BID asked the city this week for more nightshift police presence downtown, but Hughes said current numbers make that difficult. Hughes said the department is answering 20,000 calls annually while crime statistics have risen dramatically.

The council approved a health insurance agreement with retired firefighters age 65 and up that replaces their fully paid city policies with Medicare supplemental coverage. Hughes said the agreement is expected to save the city at least $200,000 a year.

Categories: Schenectady County

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