Shandaken to pick new police chief

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Shandaken Town Board will hold a special session on Wednesday, July 2 to interview candidates for the position of police chief.
According to Supervisor Rob Stanley, the meeting will not be conducted in public. “We will officially open the meeting then immediately move to executive session,” he said Monday. “We will interview candidates, then have a private discussion and hopefully choose a new chief right then.”
Should no decision be reached Wednesday, Stanley wants the town board to at least reach a conclusion by Monday, July 7, the date of the board’s monthly meeting. It is important, Stanley said, to have a new chief in place before current Chief James McGrath retires on July 18.
Stanley said he is glad that he and the board have candidates to choose from for the $23,000 a year part time job.
Personally, Stanley is looking for not just a qualified police officer but also someone who can relate well with residents. “A big part of the chief’s job is interacting with the community,” he said.
McGrath, a 34-year veteran of the Shandaken Police Department and it’s longtime chief, notified the town of his retirement with a June 2 letter in which McGrath said he would still be available to help the department.
“The decision to retire has not been an easy one, but I feel it is time for me to move on,” McGrath wrote.
The small crowd in attendance at the June 2 meeting applauded McGrath after Deputy Supervisor Tim Malloy read the chief’s resignation aloud. Malloy himself said that he was “sorry to see him go.”
According to McGrath, the department, although still only a part time one, has come a long way. “It has been a pleasure watching the police department grow into the professional department it is today,” McGrath wrote. “I wish the Town of Shandaken and its police department the very best in its future and know it will continue to strive to better serve the community and protect its residents and visitors while providing this very necessary community service.”
This year’s police department budget is $333,846.