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Saratoga Springs settles harassment case

Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim said the city is closing the books on a bad chapter in the city's history by settling lawsuits stemming from Erin Dreyer's removal as deputy commissioner of public safety.

Mayor Valerie Keehn moved to approve a $65,000 settlement in two separate lawsuits brought by Police Chief Ed Moore and then Assistant Chief James Cornick.

The council voted 3-to-2 to approve the settlements, totaling $130,000, with Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue and Commissioner of Accounts John Franck dissenting.

McTygue said he voted against the settlement because he couldn't see where it was justified.

I really don't see where there were damages to either one of them in the amounts for which we're settling, he said.

Commissioner of Finance Matt McCabe said he understood McTygue's sentiment, but said holding off a settlement would only cost the city more money. He said that settling the case made the most financial sense for the city, and he voted in support of the measure.

Kim said he felt like he was sweeping up after a circus when he came into his office in 2006.

"This is, I hope, the end of a very unfortunate chapter in the city's history," he said before voting to approve the settlement. "I'm supporting this motion because it closes the books on a very bad chapter in the city, and moves us forward."

The motion also ceased legal action by the city against New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, the city's insurance company, which sought to absolve the city's responsibility for Dreyer's defense.

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, 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.

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