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GUILDERLAND: Chief retires

Three months after allegations against Guilderland police Chief James Murley resulted in his suspension, an agreement has been struck in which Murley is set to retire after 34 years as head of the Guilderland Police Department.

During an executive session on Tuesday, May 1, Murley's attorney met with attorneys representing the town to finalize an agreement upon which the town would accept Murley's retirement, effective May 30. Murley's annual salary was $96,849.

By retiring, Murley avoids a hearing set for Thursday, May 10, to address allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct regarding interaction with a vendor; alleged violations of the town's ethics law with respect to his interaction with town employees; and misconduct in his maintenance of attendance and leave records.

Murley ended his association with the police department on April 27.

With his retirement, any actions resulting from the pending civil service hearing were made irrelevant, said Supervisor Kenneth Runion. According to civil service law, the penalties that can be imposed upon an individual include reprimand, suspension and termination, said Runion.

Once an employee terminates his employment, it's like the hearing has been held, and there isn't anything further to be done, said Runion.

Under the stipulation agreement, Murley is entitled to be paid using his vacation leave accrued up until May 30. At that time, the town will pay Murley for all of his accrued and unused vacation time. As a condition of the agreement, Murley agreed to release the town from any claims arising from or related to his employment.

An early retirement may not mark the end of the ordeal for the longtime chief.

According to Heather Orth, a spokesperson for the Albany County district attorney's office, this agreement has no bearing on the DA's probe into whether Murley committed any criminal actions.

"At this point, it is an ongoing investigation," said Orth, who could not comment on the specific nature of the investigation because it still is ongoing.

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