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Gouverneur appoints police chief

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GOUVERNEUR — Gordon F. Ayen Jr. was tapped Tuesday by the village Board of Trustees to become the Police Department’s provisional chief.

Since David C. Whitton retired in May, Mr. Ayen had been acting chief under provisions of the contract with the department as its only sergeant.

He will be paid $69,000 annually. Chief Ayen had been making a base salary of $55,000 as a sergeant, so could make less money as chief because he no longer will receive overtime. However, he said he was aware of that possibility before he decided to accept the job, so the village will not face the situation Canton found itself in when its newly appointed chief, Basil W. Cheney, resigned to return to his sergeant’s position.

Chief Ayen will have to pass a Civil Service test, expected to take place in March, to hold on to the job.

The Gouverneur board also promoted Laurina M. Greenhill to sergeant. It previously appointed Darren J. Fairbanks, who had been a part-time dispatcher, to an officer’s position.

The board accepted the resignation of Doreen M. Love as a part-time dispatcher and appointed Angela Knowlton-Idzenga and Rachel Patton as dispatchers.

Trustees also agreed to borrow up to $300,000 to rehabilitate one of four filters at the water plant, which has been in periodic violation of state Department of Health standards.

“To me, this is priority number one for this village,” Trustee Roger A LaPierre said.

The village could spend up to $12 million on a new plant but instead is trying to rebuild the filters. If the first rehabilitation is successful, the total project could cost up to $3 million.

The water is safe to drink.

“As of today, yes,” said Ronald E. Sheppard, an engineer with the state Health Department. “The plant is in a fragile state. If we were not comfortable with this approach, we would not be supportive of it. We view this as progress.”

An enforcement action is in the works to set up a schedule of work at the plant.

As a separate project, improving water flow to the east side, including the Kinney Drugs warehouse, could begin with construction of lines on several streets at the end of August. The short-term upgrade might be completed by the end of the year. Additional improvements to increase pressure, which Kinney has said it needs for fire protection, are expected when the state Department of Transportation begins reconstructing parts of Route 11 through the village in 2013.

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