Vatter resigns as Newburgh fire chief

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Vatter

NEWBURGH – Amid federal allegations that he illegally collected $95,000 in state pension money, Newburgh Fire Chief Michael Vatter has resigned.
Mayor Judy Kennedy said on Thursday that Assistant Chief Terry Ahlers has been appointed acting chief and the department will move forward in an orderly fashion.
“The city will continue and the responsibilities will be covered and as far as Chief Vatter is concerned, time will tell the story,” Kennedy told MidHudsonNews.com. “Everyone is presumed innocent until the process is complete.”
City Councilwoman Jeannie Abrams said the council was “devastated” when they heard the news, but she noted that people are innocent until proven guilty.
Last week Vatter told City Hall he would be taking a leave of absence for an unspecified time period.
Officials had been looking into the matter of the pension funds for close to two years.
Vatter had served as fire chief previously and when he retired, began collecting his pension. When he was rehired by the city in 2009, it is alleged that he never informed the state pension system and continued to collect his full amount. Persons who return to public service cannot earn more than $30,000 a year and retain their pensions.