DUNKIRK -- The Common Council and Mayor Margaret Wuerstle have reached a compromise on recommendations to Police Chief Wade Weatherlow for hiring new officers.
The compromise will make it possible for Weatherlow to hire a minority person, as the mayor has urged, and someone who works for another police department, as the Council recommended.
City Attorney Sheila Meck Hyde said under the charter the police chief does his own hiring, although the mayor and Council can make recommendations.
The Council scheduled a meeting for 6:45 p.m. today to create an additional position in the department. The 33rd position will be partially funded through the federal crime bill.
The mayor has recommended that the chief hire a minority person from a civil service list for this position. The city has given an examination for police officer and is awaiting the results. With several possible retirements in the department, additional vacancies are expected.
The department already has a vacancy, and the Council has recommended that the chief hire a "lateral transfer," a person who is with another department and wants to work in Dunkirk. The original advertisement for the opening asked for applicants who could transfer from another police agency.
Larry Klajbor, who lives in the city and is now a Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputy, has applied and been interviewed for the position.
Mayor Wuerstle recently expressed concern that the force has only one Hispanic officer. Councilman at Large Ralph Letersky said the Council wants to see Spanish-speaking persons hired as 911 dispatchers to assist callers.
The Council says it was never against hiring a minority person but that hiring someone from another police department would save the city about $10,000, since the transferee would have completed training at the Police Academy.
In another police matter, the Council approved a resolution that the police chief "should" move to the city. Weatherlow, who lives in Fredonia, has purchased a home in the city and is in the process of remodeling it.