The town of Niskayuna permanently appointed Police Chief Jordan Kochan, even after the chairman of the Police and Public Safety Committee said he believed it was better to hold off until the new board took office.
The board voted 3-1 on the resolution at its monthly meeting Thursday night. Board member Bill McPartlon voted against the resolution and board member John Della Ratta was absent from the meeting.
“I said to the chief that I think it would be better if he had his permanent appointment done with the new board because then it shows not only did he have the support of the 2021 board, but he would have the support of the board in 2022,” said McPartlon, who is the chairman of the Police and Public Safety Committee.
The resolution regarding the appointment was reviewed at the Finance and General Government Committee on Nov. 4.
During that meeting, Comptroller Ismat Alam indicated Kochan had completed an eight-week probationary period on Nov. 11.
But some residents are satisfied with the town’s decision to not have Kochan go through with a six-month probationary period.
“When you take someone who has never had the experience when you take someone who just received the position two months ago and give him a permanent position, I have to question that,” said resident Linda Rizzo during privilege of the floor.
She went on to say that the resolution should have been reviewed by both McPartlon and the Police and Public Safety Committee.
“He’s an elected official, not a potted plant sitting up there,” Rizzo said.
Prior to the meeting resident Sunny Lee admonished the board for not requiring a six-month probationary period in a letter to the editor published Wednesday in The Gazette.
“This permanent appointment is being made well before the six-month probationary period has run,” Lee said in the letter. “When and at what meeting was this decision made to eliminate the traditional probationary period? This issue was not discussed at any Public Safety Committee meeting. What else might this lame-duck board attempt to do on their way out?”
During the meeting, Leslie Gold said she was trusting the judgment of the board. She also said that Civil Service Law requires a minimum number of weeks for a probationary period and a maximum number of weeks.
The town employee handbook indicates that a probationary period ranges from as few as eight weeks or to as long as 56 weeks.
Not everyone who falls under Civil Service requirements fulfills a six-month probationary period, said Supervisor Yasmine Syed.
Prior Police Chief Dan McManus was appointed after only serving a four month probationary period, Syed said. Syed said the appointment was made to bring stability to the police department.