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A delay in appointing a new public safety dispatcher and patrolman to the Town of Lancaster Police Department is over.

The Town Board appointed Tammie E. Malone as a dispatcher and Richard K. Albert as a police officer Monday night.

Malone and Albert were introduced to board members three weeks ago, when the Town Board was poised to vote on the appointments. But an unexpected twist delayed the hirings when the issue of nepotism was raised.

"The thing that worries me is you should be hired on qualification, not association," Councilman Richard D. Zarbo said at the last board meeting about Malone, the niece of Capt. Leon Trzewieczynski. "Nepotism should have no place in the hiring of town employees. The most qualified person -- physically and educationally -- does."

Nepotism did not play a role, Police Chief Thomas Fowler retorted. Malone took the civil service test and scored within the top group, while Trzewieczynski interviewed all of the candidates as the department captain but was excluded from the selection process.

Zarbo was absent from Monday's meeting because of a family commitment, Supervisor Robert H. Giza said.

Malone will begin her position on March 12 and will be paid $27,007. She is also a dispatcher for the Canisius College Office of Public Safety.

Albert, a six-year veteran of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad police who also scored in the top civil service group, was hired by the Erie County Sheriff's Department on Jan. 29. But he decided to accept the Lancaster position instead.

"He's lived here for two years and felt this job would be better for him," Giza said.

Albert, who will earn $41,221 as a Lancaster patrolman, replaces an officer who retired last month, Giza said.

Not everyone was on board with Albert's appointment, which begins today. According to resident Gloria Kubicki, Albert should not have been hired because the town and village are discussing a possible merger of the two police departments.

No problem, said Giza.

"He was put on notice he's the first to go if the department shrinks due to a consolidation or merger," Giza said.

And, he pointed out, both the dispatcher and patrolman positions were already budgeted.

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