Cops call town supervisor immature, say he’s a bully

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TOWN OF FISHKILL – Town Supervisor Ozzie Albra was criticized by several members of the Town of Fishkill’s Police Department during Wednesday’s town board meeting.  The raucous meeting included heated verbal exchanges between police administration and Albra over the supervisor’s attempt to hire a new police lieutenant.

Albra put forth a resolution to hire a new patrol lieutenant even though the position is currently held by Lieutenant Paul Schettino, an 18-year veteran of the department.  The department has three lieutenant positions – one for the patrol division, one for the administration, and one for “special services” namely the detective division.

When Chief Dworkin questioned the appointment to a position already occupied, Albra told the chief to reassign Schettino to one of the other lieutenant posts.  Albra was seeking to hire the former Town of Lloyd Chief, Daniel Waage, without having a discussion among the town board prior to the meeting, and told Dworkin that the new hire was because “I want fresh eyes on the department.”

PBA President Carl DeMarco addressed the board and was critical of the way Albra was seeking to hire a lieutenant from outside of the department.  He told the board that Albra is trying to dismantle the police department by not filling several vacancies.

According to DeMarco, the chief has asked Albra for two dispatchers, two sergeants, two lieutenants, and two detectives, all positions that are currently vacant.  Of all the requests, Albra agreed to fill one lieutenant position.  DeMarco asked the board for help. “The town supervisor’s ongoing campaign to cripple the work of the police department by refusing to bring staff shortages to this board for its action should not be tolerated.”

Albra continually interrupted DeMarco as the president was trying to speak, prompting DeMarco to say, “At this point we have zero trust in you,” and chastised Albra for interrupting, saying “You’re an absolute bully.” PBA Vice-president Steven Bouffard was also interrupted by Albra while attempting to speak, at which point Bouffard told the board, “Mr. Albra is immature – he’s vindictive.”

When the officers were done speaking during the public comment session, the board took up the Albra resolution to hire the lieutenant. Albra asked the board to change the title from patrol lieutenant to administrative lieutenant and they agreed. The motion to hire was met with sharp criticism from Councilwoman Louise Daniele who questioned Albra regarding a potential violation of the town’s hiring policy.

According to Daniele, the candidate for the position is supposed to come from a recommendation from Chief Dworkin and this appointment was instead being made by Albra and the town’s Human Resources Director. Daniele called the attempted hiring a violation and encouraged her fellow board members to postpone the vote. Daniele also criticized Albra for failing to have candidate Waage meet with the entire board for a discussion prior to his hiring.

In a 3-2 vote, the hiring of Waage was postponed until the September 15 meeting so the board can determine if it would violate the town hiring policy if they proceed as Albra presented it.

Contacted after the meeting, Albra characterized the verbal sparring as “A good and open discussion and it’s now clear why hiring from the outside for the position of lieutenant is the right thing to do.”