Germantown seeks new ‘feasibility study’ of town police

GERMANTOWN—The Town Board has approved hiring Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt, retired New York State Police superintendent, as a consultant to “conduct a management and feasibility study of the Germantown Police Department.”

The decision, taken at the board’s May 8 meeting, marks the second time in less than four years that the Town Board has considered the feasibility of the town’s Police Department. In the fall of 2014, under then Supervisor Joel Craig, the board discussed the matter in public meetings: two regular meetings and a workshop meeting devoted to the topic.

The town then hired Peter Volkmann, chief of the Chatham Village Police Department, to do a study. In March 2015 Chief Volkmann submitted his draft report. The Police Department, including one vehicle, remains in place. Brian DuBois is officer-in-charge, at $17 per hour, and Damon Filli is officer, at $15 per hour.

Germantown Supervisor Robert Beaury said after last week’s meeting that because “part of” the matter was personnel, hiring a consultant was discussed this time in executive session. As a new board, he said, board members wanted “to see where stand with the Police Department. We felt it might not be reasonable to go off of the 2015 study, and we should engage someone qualified for today, who would give us their expert opinion.”

He had reached out “informally” for a consultant, Mr. Beaury said, found Supt. Corbitt and had several conversations with him. Supt. Corbitt now lives in Georgia but comes north to do business in New York City and to see family in Albany, Mr. Beaury said. This kind of consultancy is something he does in his retirement, and he will visit Germantown in person, said Mr. Beaury.

Supt. Corbitt served 25 years with the state police before his retirement in 2004. Governor David A. Paterson asked him to return to service as superintendent of the Division of State Police. He was confirmed by the state Senate in April 2008, the first African American to hold the agency’s highest rank.

Mr. Corbitt resigned as superintendent in March 2010 after Gov. Patterson and the state police had come under a cloud for possible witness tampering in a domestic abuse charge brought against an aide to the governor. No charges were brought against the governor or the state police in the matter.

Also at the meeting, after a short mid-meeting executive session, the board appointed Genette Picicci as alternate member of the Planning Board. Last November Ms. Picicci proposed to the Town Board “some form of regulation which allows landowners to utilize their property to host a small number of for-profit events a year.” When Supervisor Beaury took office, he sent the proposal to the Planning Board, asking the Planning Board to study it and recommend a policy for the Town Board to consider.

The role of the alternate member is to sit on the board when a regular member has a conflict of interest. In preparation for that possibility, attending every Planning Board meeting is a “good idea” said Mr. Beaury.

In an email Tuesday, Ms. Picicci said she looked forward “to attending each meeting to keep abreast of ongoing discussions.”

In other business:

• After a public hearing that heard only praise for the updated Comprehensive Plan, the board approved the plan to a round of applause

• An ongoing Waterfront Advisory Committee was established and the following were appointed to it: Jen Crawford, co-chair; Kaare Christian, co-chair; Martin Overington, Christina Bohnsack, William Shannon Phil Williams, Elizabeth Bathrick, John Balazs, Jo Hills and Tony Albino

• An Economic Development and Advisory Committee was established and the following were appointed to it: Amy Davison, chair; Sara Suarez, Tracy Martin, Lu Ray Tate, Margaret Della Cioppa, Mary MacGill, Genette Picicci, Tony Albino and Teresa Repko

• With thanks, the board approved the Implementation Strategy of the Waterfront Committee Report, subject to board oversight and funding ability

• Mr. Overington reported that during the May 5 River Sweep, in three hours 38 people ages 5 to 78 had picked up 72 bags of trash, 8 tires, six drums and an ATV frame

• Saturday, May 19 is Community Day, featuring a garden club plant and bake sale, library open house, town-wide yard sales, Odyssey of the Mind Car Wash and a hamlet stroll

• Grievance Day is Tuesday, May 22, when residents can grieve their property assessments at Town Hall between 2 and 4 p.m. and 6 and 8 p.m.

• Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, will be observed with a 9 a.m. ceremony at Palatine Park, followed by a 10 a.m. parade

• The potluck supper hosted by the Economic Development and Advisory Committee is Sunday, June 10 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Kellner Community Activities Center. So far, 12 businesses have signed up to participate

• The Fourth of July fireworks are Saturday, June 30 this year; gates open at 4 p.m. Rain date is July 1.

The next Town Board meeting is Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. Roy Brown, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Germantown Fire District, will make a presentation.

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