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Public hearing set for reform plan

JOHNSTOWN — The Common Council on Monday slated a public hearing on the city police reform plan for 6 p.m. March 15 at City Hall.

The council passed a resolution to advertise for the hearing, which will be held in the Council Chambers. Officials said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic “only a limited amount of people will be allowed in the meeting at one time.”

Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable attending the hearing in person can voice their position to the attention of Mayor Vern Jackson via email to vjackson@cityofjohnstown.ny.gov. People can also email Johnstown Police Chief David Gilbo at jpd@cityofjohnstown.ny.gov; or through the mail to: P.O. Box 160, Johnstown, NY, 12095.

The public hearing is to adopt the Johnstown Police Reform Plan. Gilbo recently reviewed a draft version of the plan, which must be submitted to the state by April 1.

“I read this cover to cover,” Jackson told the council Monday night.

The mayor said both Gilbo and Capt. Eric Johnson “did an excellent job” on the reform plan. The city police department used to be accredited by the state and is working toward that designation again, which comes out in the plan.

Jackson said that in that regard, city police have already met many of the state mandates recommended as part of the plan.

“We’ve done a lot of them already,” he said.

He said the reform plan will be on the city’s website as well as the city’s Facebook page.

The resolution approved by the council indicated that the plan should be adopted by the municipality with an eye toward “any modifications, modernizations, and innovations to its policing deployments, strategies, policies, procedures and practices, tailored to the specific needs of the community and general promotion of improved police agency and community relationships based on trust, fairness, accountability and transparency, and which seek to reduce any racial disparities in policing …”

In other business, the council approved an annual $110,000 contract with the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center Inc. for 2021.

The council also appointed two commissioners of deeds in the city. Appointed were: Gabrielle Hale of the Fulton County Department of Social Services; and Judith Telfer, also employed by DSS. Their two-year commissioner terms run through Jan. 18, 2023.

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