Chief re­tires af­ter agree­ment with mayor

Of­fi­cer: De­par­ture is un­re­lated to deal to end griev­ance

Albany Times Union - - AROUND THE REGION - By Wendy Lib­er­a­tore ▶ wlib­er­a­tore@ time­sunion.com 518-4545445 @wendylib­er­a­tore

Two weeks af­ter the mayor and po­lice depart­ment re­solved a dis­pute, Po­lice Chief Joseph Wal­dron has re­tired.

The chief, who has been with the depart­ment for 28 years, an­nounced his re­tire­ment at Wed­nes­day night’s City Coun­cil meet­ing, said Matthew Dunn, an of­fi­cer on the force and the vice pres­i­dent of the Po­lice Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion.

“The agree­ment and the chief’s re­tire­ment have noth­ing to do with each other,” Dunn said on Thurs­day. “We didn’t know it was coming.”

Last Jan­uary, Dunn was among four of­fi­cers who lodged a five-page per­son­nel com­plaint against Mayor Den­nis Baker, charg­ing him with in­tim­i­da­tion, ha­rass­ment and be­hav­ior that was de­mean­ing and threat­en­ing.

The two par­ties signed an agree­ment on June 29, in which the mayor has agreed to work with the chief di­rectly and not in­ter­rupt day-to-day op­er­a­tions by giv­ing di­rec­tion to in­di­vid­ual of­fi­cers.

Dunn, the mayor and the mayor’s lawyer, James Walsh, each de­clined to com­ment on the agree­ment. Walsh did say that they are work­ing on a joint state­ment that will be re­leased soon.

The agree­ment between the mayor and the po­lice also notes that the mayor will “abide by the stan­dards of con­duct set forth” in the city’s em­ployee hand­book. In ad­di­tion, the agree­ment reads that the com­plaint will not re­sult in “re­tal­i­a­tion against the Union or any of its in­di­vid­ual mem­bers for the fil­ing of the per­son­nel com­plaint.”

The chief, who was not a sig­na­tory in the com­plaint, will fin­ish out his ten­ure July 30. Dunn said that if the Baker doesn’t ap­point some­one to re­place Wal­dron be­fore then, De­tec­tive Sgt. Wil­liam Rab­bitt will act as chief.

Rab­bitt also signed the Jan­uary com­plaint against the mayor as did Union Pres­i­dent Alexan­der Dunn and Union Trea­surer Ian Foard, who is has since re­signed from the depart­ment.

The com­plaint was filed with the city’s Com­mis­sioner of Ac­counts and head of per­son­nel Kim­berly Dunn who is the mother of the two of­fi­cers. Some spec­u­lated that Kim­berly Dunn put her sons up to the com­plaint be­cause she wanted to be mayor, a charge she has de­nied.

The agree­ment makes no men­tion of Francine Baker, the mayor’s wife who is also the city’s Court Clerk. The com­plaint in­di­cated she pres­sured of­fi­cers to write more tick­ets be­cause “court num­bers are way down and that the clerks didn’t have enough to do.”

In April, the state’s Of­fice of Court Ad­min­is­tra­tion as­signed a clerk to the Me­chan­icville City Courts and di­rected its In­spec­tor Gen­eral to in­ves­ti­gate Francine Baker. The spokesman for OCA said ear­lier that the agree­ment “has no di­rect ef­fect on our IG’S in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Will Wal­dron / Times Union ar­chive

Me­chan­icville Po­lice Chief Joseph Wal­dron, seen here at the Me­chan­icville po­lice de­part in 2002, has re­tired af­ter 28 years with the depart­ment.

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