The city of Saratoga Springs must pay for the legal defense of former deputy public safety commissioner Erin Dreyer, according to a ruling by state Appellate court handed down Thursday, Aug. 9.
The ruling upholds a previous requirement that the city pay for Dreyer's legal fees associated with defending harassment lawsuits brought against her and former public safety commissioner Tom Curley by the city's top police officers, Chief Edward Moore and Assistant Chief James Cornick.
The city had agreed to pay for Curley's defense but declined in Dreyer's case.
Although some of the conduct charged in the chief's complaint may arguably be outside the scope of her employment or intentional, some of the allegations fall clearly within the scope of her employment, thus entitling her to a defense under city code, the ruling stated.
Dreyer was accused of abusing her authority and harassing police officers, among other things. A grand jury recommended in 2005 that Dreyer be fired or disciplined for her actions, saying the political appointee was unfit for the job. The jurors, after months of testimony, said that she abused her authority, harassed police officers, including Moore and Cornick, interfered with investigations and enforcement, and re-directed city resources for political purposes.
Moore accused Curley and Dreyer of conspiring to harass him out of his job, to which Curley had appointed him in 2003. The grand jury also found that Dreyer had an adulterous affair with a police officer whom she had allegedly promised a promotion in exchange for helping to hound Moore out of office.
Cornick initiated his harassment claim after Dreyer said the officers lied under oath.
Dreyer did not leave her office following the grand jury recommendation until the city briefly eliminated her position in the spring of 2006. The position was eventually reinstated with Frank Dudla appointed to the office.