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Status of embattled Massena police officer remains unclear

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MASSENA — The employment status of embattled police Officer Michael W. O’Donnell is unclear following a closed-door village board meeting Thursday.

The Board of Trustees went into executive session to discuss “matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.” The board invited Police Chief Timmy J. Currier to stay for the session, which lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Mr. O’Donnell was placed on paid administrative leave in January after being charged with driving while intoxicated. The Police Department has been expected to wrap up its own administrative proceedings involving Mr. O’Donnell.

Following its closed-door meeting Thursday, the village board 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 it publicly.

Mr. McArdle, Mayor James F. Hidy, Trustees Francis J. Carvel and Albert C. Deshaies and Mr. Currier would not comment on the agreement or say whether it related to Mr. O’Donnell’s employment.

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

“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.”

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 caused partially by Mr. O’Donnell’s leave.

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

Mr. O’Donnell would not comment Thursday. His attorney, Efstathia G. Kyriakopoulos, could not be reached.

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