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Status of embattled Massena Village Police officer unclear

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MASSENA - The employment status of an embattled police officer is unclear following a closed-door Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.

The village board held a special meeting and adjourned into executive session to discuss “matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.” They also cited potential litigation as one of the issues that could be discussed during an executive session that included the village attorney.

The board invited Police Chief Timmy J. Currier to stay for the approximately 45-minute session.

The special meeting coincided with when the police department was expected to wrap up its administrative proceedings against Patrolman Michael W. O’Donnell.

Mr. O’Donnell was placed on paid administrative leave in January after being arrested for driving while intoxicated. The board reconvened into open session and unanimously approved a document titled “2012-01-vom-06-14-12,” which Village Attorney Matthew H. McArdle said was an agreement. Board members did not discuss the document in open session.

Mr. McArdle, Mayor James F. Hidy, Trustees Francis J. Carvel and Albert C. Deshaies and Mr. Currier declined to comment on the agreement or how it related to Mr. O’Donnell’s employment.

Village Clerk Patricia Dumas said Mr. McArdle recommended the document not be publicly disclosed.

“It’s a confidential matter,” Mr. McArdle said. “I’m really not able to comment on it pursuant to the terms of the agreement itself and applicable law.”

Thursday’s special meeting is the second in as many weeks. Last Friday, the village board authorized Mr. Currier to hire a “contingent permanent” officer. The new officer will help the department with overtime costs and staffing shortages partially caused by the leave of Mr. O’Donnell.

Should Mr. O’Donnell leave the department, the new hire would stay on permanently, Mr. Currier previously said.

Mr. O’Donnell declined comment on Thursday.

His attorney, Efstathia G. Kyriakopoulos, could not be reached for comment.

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