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posted: 5/28/2013 5:11 PM

Cary leaves police chief oversight with administrator

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The Cary village board has decided the future police chief will report to the village manager, much to the dismay of three trustees.

The board last week voted 4-3 to maintain the police department's organizational structure. Some trustees wanted the new police chief to be directly accountable to the village board.

Police Chief Steven Casstevens has resigned to run the Buffalo Police Department. His last day in Cary is June 7.

While the board hasn't started the process to replace Casstevens, trustees are considering doing a needs analysis on the department to better help them identify candidates. Casstevens' looming departure also gave trustees an opportunity to consider revising the department's structure.

Trustees Jeff Krause, Dave Chapman and Rick Dudek, and Village President Mark Kownick voted against the change.

To have the chief report to the board would have politicized the office of the police chief and kept the board from focusing on bigger picture issues, Kownick said.

"I don't believe elected officials should be involved in the day-to-day operations, that's why we hired the village administrator," Kownick said. "The bottom line is the board of trustees and the mayor oversee the village. The daily operations comes from our department heads and the village administrator and that's the way it should stay."

Trustees Karen Lukasik, Robert Bragg and Bruce Kaplan, who ran on a slate that pushed government transparency in 2011, argued the new chief should report to the village board because information sometimes gets lost in translation. Kaplan also encouraged government transparency during his unsuccessful bid for village president earlier this year.

"The information tends to be filtered and we want direct accountability," Kaplan said.

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