Gowanda board appoints acting Officer in Charge

GOWANDA – There are more changes in the Gowan-da Police Department.

The village board ap-proved an interim Officer in Charge at a recent village board meeting. Steve Rai-port was approved as acting Officer in Charge retroactive to May 13 by the Gowanda Village Board. Current Offi-cer in Charge Sean Hotnich, who was appointed in March, was notified by mail he ran out of Civil Service hours earlier this month during the village’s flood.

Since the Gowanda Police Department is a part-time department, officers have a set amount of hours they can work in a fiscal year as determined by Civil Service requirements. If an officer were to run out of hours, he or she would have to wait until the start of the village’s fiscal year on June 1.

Mayor Heather McKee-ver said she made an executive decision to appoint Raiport during an “emergency situation.” McKeever also recommended to the village board to appoint Raiport as Officer in Charge for a six-month probation period.

“That is just something that I feel needs to happen based on different things the village needs at this point in time. It will be difficult to have yet another change so I recommend we keep Steve Raiport as our Officer in Charge …,” said McKeever. “He did a fine job helping us the last couple weeks.”

Trustee Carol Sheibley noted Hotnich was appointed for a one-year term, and in order to appoint Raiport the previous motion needs to be rescinded. Hotnich also presented a letter to each member of the board, which they were not able to read prior to the meeting.

“I would like to take the time to assess what’s in (the letter) before I vote on a motion to appoint someone else before rescinding the (previous) motion,” Sheibley said.

Hotnich, who was in attendance at the meeting, apologized for delivering the letter late. He explained when he received a letter from Civil Service stating he could no longer work, he was shocked. When he took the position as Officer in Charge in March, Hotnich said he had nearly 78.5 hours left until June 1 to work, but due to misinformation and an error, he had much less.

“I would like the opportunity to do the job. I know, Heather, you had to make some decisions in an emergency situation … I would ask respectfully you read my letter and hear my points of views. This was a major undertaking and with the limited amount of hours I had and what I walked into, I firmly believe I accomplished a lot. I didn’t accomplish everything but I did keep the ball moving…,” Hotnich said.

Since the village has the upcoming Hollywood Happening this weekend, McKeever said she would not like to change the administration during the event.

The board agreed to table the matter until its next meeting on June 17. At this time, the board will make a decision on the Officer in Charge position.

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