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Gloversville mayor says chief still on the job, hopes for "resolution" after graphic news report

Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis (WAMC file photo)
Lucas Willard
/
WAMC
Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis (WAMC file photo)

Albany news television station WNYT-NewsChannel 13 recently reported that the police chief of the Fulton County City of Gloversville was being “forced to resign” after city officials were unhappy with the station’s coverage of the opioid crisis and city police department – which included graphic police body camera footage.

In an interview with WAMC Thursday afternoon, Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis said that Chief Anthony Clay is still serving in his role, but the Democrat was reluctant to share details about the personnel matter.

DeSantis detailed several positive developments involving the city police department and community outreach as it seeks to combat the addiction crisis.

There's been a lot of positives in Gloversville. And when this aired, people were, in the city, were really appalled that Gloversville had been portrayed in such a negative light.

A lot of the things that were said on the segment that they had done in both, on both days, was just not factual. And so, you know, we talked about that. The very next day, I talked to the chief, we, you know, and we started having discussions about, you know, why this had happened. And…why we didn't take control of the narrative, or at least, you know, put in something that would have been a balanced approach to the reporting.

So, that's how it all started. I mean, we, and we still, you know, are going to be doing that in the future. But, you know, as far as the personnel matter between the chief and myself, we know there's an issue and we're talking about that. And we've come to, you know, we're hoping to come very soon to some kind of a resolution here.

But I can't really discuss all of that.

Is there any city policy that the chief or anyone else in the department violated with sharing information with the TV station, including July body cam footage that was in the segment? Is there any violation that's being investigated?

You know, I really can't speak to that at this point.

Is the chief on any form of administrative leave?

I don't want to comment on that. I mean, there will be, you know, very soon, there will be something coming out. He's still our chief.

And, you know, there's not going to be a termination or anything like that, I don't believe, or a firing or anything of that nature. I believe that we're getting to the point where we're, you know, really coming to some resolution at some point. And I think very soon within the next few days.

Do you still have confidence in Chief Clay?

No comment.

Were you informed that NewsChannel 13 would be producing the segments on the opioid and substance abuse issues before they were aired?

No, I wasn't. I was informed the day that they were aired the first time. That was September 7th.

Have you had any conversations with the reporters since?

They came and interviewed me the other day. It was just before the that segment that they put on very recently.

Is this a situation where yourself, as the mayor, or the City of Gloversville needs to address confusion regarding the chief’s employment status or anything else as a result of this reporting?

Yes, I think that we do have to, we will be doing that. We will be issuing a press release, clearing the air as to exactly what the situation is going forward.

But, you know, you can imagine that if you were called in by your superior to talk about an issue or to talk about, you know, an issue that the superior might have had with you, it would be improper for that person to then turn around and publicize the content of your conversation.

A staff member at the City Police Department told WAMC Thursday that the chief was not in the office and that a city public information officer did not have any additional information to share.

WAMC and NewsChannel 13 have worked as news partners on a number of projects over many years.

NewsChannel 13 has not responded to a request for comment.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.