Gerace approved as new Fredonia police chief

Joseph Gerace

Longtime Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace will be Fredonia’s new police chief after a 3-1 vote of the village Board of Trustees Monday night.

Trustee James Lynden voted “no,” and Mayor Douglas Essek also voiced an objection to the hire. Their issues were not with Gerace, who was sheriff for 24 years and is currently head of security at Chautauqua Institution. Instead, they had problems with the procedure behind his hiring.

“I want to request that this board consider not acting on any appointments or terminations until the new board takes office in 31 days. Let the new board take action on these important decisions,” Essek said before the resolution to hire Gerace was introduced.

Lynden wanted to table the resolution.

“During this time that we were requesting applications, there was a procedural change,” he said. “Initially, it was requested by this board to have in-house promotional applications taken, and there were some given. Then, part way through the process, there was a change by some members of the board to advertise out to the public, outside the department, for the same position.

“I guess my question is, what does this say to the employees of the village and the applicants? It almost appears like a steering of something,” Lynden added.

Trustees EvaDawn Bashaw, Roger Britz and Scott Johnston would not second Lynden’s motion to table Gerace’s hiring. They provided the three votes necessary to make the hire.


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