Schenectady mayor hopes to fill public safety boss role – New York News

SCHENECTADY — The city’s public safety commissioner post is expected to be included in the 2018 budget, even as the state’s highest court considers the extent of said commissioner’s power.

The job has been vacant since the previous commissioner, Wayne Bennett, died in August. While Mayor Gary McCarthy was unwilling to speculate at that time on the future of the position, he said Tuesday that he plans to include it in the proposed 2018 spending plan he’s putting together.

“We’ve got the court case pending, and I would expect to still have a public safety commissioner going forward,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said. “I believe the courts would rule in our favor, so we’d look to fill that position.”

Bennett died on Aug. 15 at age 71. He served as public safety commissioner in the city for about 10 years, where he oversaw the city’s police and fire departments.

Bennett was brought in to clean up a police department wracked by scandal and corruption. He also doled out discipline in cases involving city officers, a responsibility the city is hopeful his replacement will take on as well.

The future of that policy is dependent on a legal case being heard in the state Court of Appeals. The city and its police union each presented arguments Sept. 6 over who should control the disciplinary process in the department.

The city maintains its public safety commissioner should have exclusive power to discipline officers, while the union believes an arbitrator should decide disciplinary cases.

The case has been ongoing for several years, and a decision is expected in coming months.

The position was a…

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