ROTTERDAM – Michael Brown has been named the new chief of the Rotterdam Police Department following the retirement of G. William Manikas on April 30, a position that comes with an almost $30,000 raise.
The Rotterdam Town Board voted unanimously during its board meeting Wednesday evening for Brown to take over the position. Brown, who has been the deputy chief since 2017, has been serving as the acting chief since Manikas’ retirement.
“I’m very pleased to see he got the appointment,” said resident Robert Godlewski during the public comment period.
Godlewski said Brown was the most-qualified and professional person he has worked with as both a Town Board member and as just a resident. He was the only resident to comment.
Brown will be paid over $149,700 for the position, according to the final agenda resolution posted on the Town Board’s website as of almost 8 p.m. Wednesday. However, the public relations firm the town hired stated the chief’s salary for 2021 was just over $135,800 and the deputy chief’s salary of just over $119,900.
Niskayuna Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed said the town’s chief there makes just over $134,300. Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town’s chief makes $113,000. The Schenectady city chief makes over $161,500, according to the 2021 budget.
Brown said he was honored to take the position and will do the job to the best of his abilities. He also took a couple of minutes to thank his family who he said has been very understanding over the years when he’s needed to leave the house late for calls or miss games and other events for his kids.
He also thanked the personnel in his department for their dedication.
“It’s truly them who are the face of the Police Department,” he said. “They’re out there on a day-to-day basis doing their jobs and I appreciate them for that and for giving us the good name that I think that we have.”
Brown was among three candidates who applied for the job.
“Police chief interviews were conducted based on qualified individuals identified on the civil service list, and all of those candidates applied,” town officials stated in an emailed statement through the public relations firm they hired. “Board members Samantha Miller-Herrera and Steve Signore interviewed the three candidates and made their recommendation to the Town Board.”
Signore said he and Miller-Herrera conducted interviews on May 11, 12 and 13 before giving a recommendation to the Town Board.
Manikas said he had recommended Brown take over the position and was more than qualified to do so.
Brown has been at the department for 24 years. He is also a 2012 graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.
Brown was sworn in during the Zoom meeting Wednesday, with his son pinning his badge on him afterward. Brown said over the next few weeks a new deputy chief should be named.
The board stated in an agenda review meeting prior to the Town Board meeting the decision to name a new chief Wednesday evening was not based on an article published by The Gazette that ran Wednesday on the topic. During themeeting Supervisor Steven Tommasone asked if any board members wanted to make any comments on the hiring. Signore said he wanted to make some quick comments about the timing of the police chief’s hiring.
“Just enough to put the paper in their place,” said Evan Christou, the deputy supervisor.
Signore agreed with Christou. Tommasone said he wasn’t sure such comments were necessary and the town needed to move forward on issues and not “get sidetracked by some of these instances that might cause any concern.”