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Added powers for police chief are delayed

The City Council delayed action Wednesday on enacting a law giving the police chief the power of disciplining, hiring and firing officers -- matters currently decided by the city Police Commission.

The action was delayed until Mayor Jeff Pond and the Council learn the results of recent civil service testing for the chief's job, expected in about 10 days.

The law would eliminate civil service testing, which in the past has failed to result in any hires with passing scores. The one exception was Scott Cicirelllo, who was chief for about a year, then resigned last year to take a State Police post.

Civil service law requires hiring from the top scorers on the test. But any qualified person may be hired if fewer than three pass the test.

Currently the department is run by an officer-in-charge, Chris Hutchinson.

Those interviewed who have taken the test and expressed an interest in being chief include Ward 4 Alderman Gary Wind, who is also a Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputy and began his police career in Salamanca; two current city police officers; and a resident of Cuba.

Currently, the city's Police Commission decides police staff changes. Earlier this week the commission hired two part-time officers, adding to eight other part-timers. They will be paid $13.66 an hour. Beginning work Saturday is Adam Carlson of Salamanca and Gregory Kent of Olean.

In other business, the Council:

* Authorized City Comptroller Linda Rychcik to amend the city budget to include an additional $17,666 in state highway aid, for a total of $41,194.

* Directed Rychcik to forward $38,252 in delinquent ambulance bills to a collection agency.

* Appointed Christen Horning of Great Valley and Brittany Skiba of Salamanca to part-time recreation director posts at the city Youth Center. Each will be paid $8.25 an hour and will also staff the city's ice rink during the winter.

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