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Settlement talks ongoing in police case

Settlement talks were under way Wednesday between the Town of Hamburg and an assistant police chief who was facing departmental charges that could get him fired.

Wednesday was to have been the fourth day of testimony in the case against Assistant Chief Stephen E. Mikac, who is accused of violating rules, orders and regulations of the department in dealing with a female recruit.

But attorneys for the town and Mikac met throughout the morning behind closed doors. The town's outside accounting consultant also was present.

The lawyers emerged after noon and announced they wanted to put off the hearing. Mikac recently changed legal counsel and is represented by David B. Cotter.

"The parties have reached a mutual agreement to adjourn proceedings today, and tomorrow's proceedings as well," Craig Bucki, who is representing the town, told Hearing Officer Peter Vito.

Police Chief Michael K. Williams filed charges against Mikac in June and September last year, accusing Mikac of not telling the chief that a recruit felt she was being graded unfairly by field training officers, and being uncooperative with the internal investigation into the matter.

Mikac faced additional departmental charges after he solicited the captains and lieutenants union for a donation to his legal fund.

The police recruit, Yvonne P. Kempski, filed a notice of claim against the town, Police Department, police chief and the two assistant chiefs, claiming she was subjected to crude, sexual, demeaning and inappropriate comments by officers assigned to train her. She also claimed she was asked to perform training scenarios that male probationary officers were not asked to perform.

Mikac also filed a lawsuit against the town in U.S. District Court, contending that the charges against him were in retaliation for filing a sexual-harassment complaint against Councilwoman Amy Ziegler. The town's compliance officer investigated the complaint and determined there was not evidence to support it.