Cobleskill cops, mayor still at odds
By Jim Poole
Cobleskill Mayor Becky Terk is “dismantling the police department,” running “the department into the ground” and micro-managing village affairs.
That’s according to a Facebook post from the Cobleskill Police Benevolent Association that blasted Mayor Terk last week.
But Mayor Terk pushed back on Saturday, calling the post inappropriate and denying most of the charges.
The post came in the middle of stalemated contract talks between the PBA and the village. The two sides held one mediation session last month; another is set for March 24.
PBA President Branden Collison said the post was an effort to inform residents of the critical situation. Mayor Terk described it as a ploy to put pressure on the village in contract talks.
“We owe it to the community to keep everybody informed,” Officer Collison said.
“I’m dismayed by the strategy,” Mayor Terk responded.
The post lists complaints about the Mayor, such as refusing to continue the K9 program and that “she continues to override and micro-manage the department, placing the safety of the community in further jeopardy. . .”
“She takes away all our programs and has no interest in putting money into the police department,” Officer Collison said in an interview.
“She’s trying to dismantle the police department.”
That’s critical, the post charges, because talks are taking place about merging the department with the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office.
“Dismantling the police department before any agreement is made between the Village and County would be catastrophic if the merger fails and the Village has already run the department into the ground,” the post reads.
When asked about dismantling the department, Mayor Terk responded, “Not at all. I don’t know what he means by that.”
Mayor Terk pointed out that Cobleskill doesn’t have the funding to continue the K9 program, and with the police department being short-handed, there’s no officer available to send for long-term dog training.
Although Mayor Terk refuted some of the charges, she didn’t mind being called a micro-manager.
“If paying attention and holding people accountable is mirco-managing, I’m okay with that,” Mayor Terk said.
Talks about merging the village PD and the Sheriff’s Office are just starting. County supervisors, Mayor Terk said, are “looking for a county-wide solution” that would include Cobleskill.
Officer Collison agreed that those talks would “see what is best for everybody.”
He’s looking for residents to attend the March village board meeting, Tuesday the 21st at the firehouse, to support the police department.
Mayor Terk is looking for support, too. She’s preparing a response to the post and Officer Collison that she’ll read at the meeting.
“I’d love for people to come, village residents, county residents,” she said. “I hope the room is packed.”