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Gouverneur Police Officer Young suspended without pay

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GOUVERNEUR — The village Board of Trustees decided by a 4-1 vote Thursday to suspend Police Officer Steven M. Young without pay effective Monday and bring administrative charges against him.

Mr. Young has been suspended with pay since September pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of possible misconduct.

Mayor Ronald P. McDougall declined comment on the status of a state police investigation into allegations that Mr. Young, who is also chief of the Gouverneur Fire Department, inappropriately used village gas in his personal vehicle.

State police investigators did not return a call for comment.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve said the investigation has not been turned over to her office yet.

“My office isn’t directly involved in the investigation,” Ms. Duve said. “I’m just aware one is being conducted.”

A probe conducted by the village has been completed and a determination made that administrative charges should be brought against Mr. Young. Trustee Shelly Simons-Washburn voted against the resolution to bring the charges against Mr. Young and suspend him without pay. She was unavailable for comment.

The village board had a special meeting, went into executive session and came out with the resolution. Mr. McDougall declined to provide details.

“I can’t speak beyond the resolution,” Mr. McDougall said.

Mr. Young said he did not know the status of the criminal investigation against him and was aware of the village’s action when reached Thursday.

“I will be in contact with my lawyer and we’ll go from there,” he said.

The administrative charges will be drawn up by village attorney Henry J. Leader, who was not available for comment.

The administrative case against Mr. Young will be dictated by Civil Service law, provided he does not have other protection in a union contract, St. Lawrence County Human Resources Director Christopher S. Boulio said.

“He’s entitled to a hearing,” Mr. Boulio said.

Civil Service allows the village to suspend Mr. Young without pay for 30 days, so a hearing date likely will be sought quickly. After 30 days, the village must either return Mr. Young to work or suspend him with pay, Mr. Boulio said. The hearing could be public or private, depending on Mr. Young’s wishes.

Mr. Young’s suspension has left village police more short-staffed than usual.

Mr. Young was one of four officers — including one who has been out on workers’ compensation for nearly two years — a sergeant and the chief who make up the force. The department was having a hard time maintaining 24/7 coverage even with Mr. Young working.

Times staff writer W.T. Eckert contributed to this report.

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