Town supervisor, PBA still at odds

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TOWN OF FISHKILL – A day after being called “immature” and labeled a “bully” by members of the town’s police force, Fishkill Supervisor Ozzie Albra has issued a revised statement.  Wednesday night’s town board meeting featured a heated series of exchanges between cops and Albra.

The union representing the officers, the PBA, has accused Albra of trying to dismantle the police department by not filling several vacant positions, including two lieutenant positions, two sergeant positions, three detective spots, and two dispatcher jobs.  According to PBA President Carl DeMarco, Police Chief Keith Dworkin has asked Albra to fill all of those vacancies and Albra has only agreed to hire one lieutenant.

On Thursday, Albra told Mid-Hudson News that there are two vacant lieutenant positions in the department and there are no vacancies in the detective division.  The PBA contract says that detectives can work 20 hours a week.  According to Dworkin, there are six detectives that each work part-time, for a total of 6,144 hours a year for the entire squad.  Albra said they are over-budget and have amassed more than 9,000 hours and Dworkin denies that claim.

President DeMarco also refuted Albra, asking “If there are no open detective positions, why was he trying to appoint two new ones up until a few hours before Wednesday’s meeting?”

Albra also accused Dworkin of contacting the Civil Service Commission regarding his ability to promote two new sergeants, saying Dworkin “went behind my back.”  The chief responded by noting that “I have every right, as the chief of police, to contact Civil Service.”  Dworkin is frustrated by the division between himself and Albra.  “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Albra and I are going through a series of miscommunications regarding facts surrounding the vacancies.”

Lieutenant Paul Schettino was alluded to by Albra on Wednesday when the supervisor told Dworkin to reassign him.  “I wasn’t planning to talk at the meeting – I was there to support the chief, but I was dragged into it.  This is all nonsense that could have been avoided if there was better and more open lines of communication between the department and town hall.”

Albra also claimed that he has proof that he supports the police.  “I have increased spending in the police department by nine percent in my first year and six percent the next.”  PBA President DeMarco called that statement “misleading.” He said the “additional money coming into the department is because the town and the union finally settled the contract –  it’s not money for new programs.”  The union leader did give some credit to Albra, adding “Ozzie did come up with $33,000 for a police UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) that we can’t use because there has been no policy put in place, no training provided to our officers, and no consideration given to how we are supposed to transport and deploy it.”