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Diversity training for town employees, police chief

Town to pick up bill on Corsi's separate disciplinary training

The Town of Bethlehem will pay an estimated $3,000 for an independent trainer to conduct a number of one-on-one sessions with Police Chief Louis Corsi as part of a disciplinary action handed down by the town in September.

The program with diversity trainer Roger Johnson, who has a background in law enforcement, started about a month ago, and will involve a to-be-determined number of sessions. The exact cost is dependent on how much work is ultimately needed to meet the program's goals.

The Town Board served Corsi a 10-day suspension, a written reprimand and an order to take a cultural diversity program after he was found uttering a racial slur on a recorded department phone call. The suspension was taken out of Corsi's existing vacation time.

Supervisor Sam Messinaat that time a Town Board membercast the sole dissenting vote in that decision, but said he wholeheartedly agrees with the training portion of the action.

"I'm very comfortable that it's exactly what is needed," Messina said.

He characterized the cost of the program as an "investment" on the part of the town.

"I think it's an investment when you do diversity training anywhere in the government and private sector," Messina said. "All people, regardless of their level, need to be sensitive to diversity issues, whether it's in recruitment, or communication, or just interacting with people."

Town Board member Kyle Kotary said that it would not be legally possible to compel Corsi to foot the bill for the training. The town pays the cost of all mandated and non-mandated training for employees.

"The entire board supported this, Chief Corsi agreed to it voluntarily, and I think the chief deserves credit for voluntarily agreeing to the town's demands," he said.

Director of Human Resources Mary Tremblay-Glassman said the program had been specifically tailored for Corsi and the town will receive updates from Johnson.

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