JOHNSTOWN - The Common Council on Monday night provisionally appointed Lt. Mark Gifford as the city's newest police chief.
Gifford has been in charge of the department since former Chief Greg Horning was placed on administrative leave by Mayor Sarah Slingerland on Sept. 10.
Horning retired May 24 while facing disciplinary charges that have not been made public.
The council voted unanimously to appoint the 49-year-old Gifford, retroactively to June 20, at an annual salary of $65,093.
"I'm optimistic and excited about it," Gifford said at City Hall. "I expect to have a good tenure in the position."
He said he has appreciated support of city officials the last several months. He said his primary challenges will be to keep an eye on potential fiscal problems for his department, and "keep the rise of crime at bay" in the city.
Gifford, a Dolgeville native, said he started his law-enforcement career in the village in 1984. He moved on to the Little Falls Police Department and was hired in Johnstown in January 1988.
Slingerland said the council can only appoint Gifford on a provisional basis until March, at which time a Civil Service test for police chief will be given.
The city has to hire the permanent police chief from the top three scores, she said. Slingerland will recommend her selection for chief to the council, which will make a final appointment.
Following his appointment, each member of the council rose and went over to Gifford to shake his hand and congratulate him.
Gifford said he has a good relationship with the city's police union - the Johnstown Police Benevolent Association.
PBA President Adam Schwabrow attended Monday night's session with police K-9 Spike.
"The PBA supports him and we are looking forward to working with him," Schwabrow said.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.