Officer in Charge demoted

GOWANDA – The Gowanda Police Department will be under new supervision. The Gowanda Village Board approved to demote Joseph Alessi, current officer in charge.

After nearly two hours in executive session for legal and personnel matters, the village board reappeared to make the announcement, which was not on the agenda. Mayor Heather McKeever made the motion to replace Alessi with officer Sean Hotnich. Alessi was not in attendance at the meeting. The motion was carried with Trustee Carol Sheibley voting no. She explained her reasoning to be stated in the minutes.

“My reason is that I feel Officer Alessi should be notified of the board’s actions prior to this board action taking place,” Sheibley said.

McKeever said she could not comment on this situation at this time.

Alessi has been with the department for 17 years, acting as officer in charge for 13 years. When the OBSERVER later contacted him by telephone, he also declined to comment at this time but said this action was unexpected.

The board also hired an outside agency to investigate an employment claim within the police department. This outside agency will replace Trustee Barb Nephew, who was appointed as temporary compliance officer last month.

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