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Gouverneur villages rests its case against suspended officer

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GOUVERNEUR — After the village rested its case Thursday in the administrative hearing of suspended police officer Steven M. Young, his attorney immediately asked Hearing Officer Marlinda L. LaValley to dismiss the charges for insufficient proof.

Attorney Michael F. Young, who is not related to his client, will file a brief outlining his arguments, and village attorney Henry J. Leader will have time to respond. If Ms. LaValley rejects Mr. Young’s request, the hearing will resume at 10:30 a.m. May 20.

Steven Young, who is also the fire chief, was suspended with pay in September pending a state police investigation into whether he inappropriately used village gasoline. The village suspended him without pay Dec. 30 and brought a series of Civil Service charges focusing on violations of the rules of conduct of the police department.

He was returned to the payroll March 24 based on Civil Service law that calls for a suspension without pay to last no more than 30 days. Mr. Young’s time without pay was longer because his hearing was postponed, through no fault of the village, because his first attorney, James R. McGraw, died and Michael Young needed time to prepare.

State police turned their investigation over to the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. No criminal charges have been filed.

The village accused Mr. Young of pumping gas into his personal pickup truck from the village tank, using an E2 key that was reportedly solely for police vehicles, rather than an E6 key that was for the fire department.

Fire department Treasurer Dale A. Johnson testified that Mr. Young received a $1,300 stipend.

However, as Michael Young has pointed out, the fire department was by contract with the village allowed to use as much gasoline as it needed.

Also testifying was Dawn M. McCollum, a Department of Public Works employee who distributed keys to the gas tank.

In 1993, there were two stamped master keys that went to the E2 module. In total, Mrs. McCollum ordered five more keys for that particular module, which had the E2 number etched on them.

The village can account for four etched E2 keys in the possession of the police department, one etched E2 key that state police Senior Investigator Michael G. Ryan took from Steven Young that had apparently been in the possession of the fire department, and the one master key that the DPW has.

“There’s another key out there,” said Michael Young.

In his opening statement, Mr. Young claimed that the village was unable to accurately track the location of the gas pump’s keys.

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