The Police Board of Commissioners will wait until next week to announce its choice for Lockport police chief.
Following a board meeting early Monday, Common Council President Rick Abbott said the board is now expected to confirm its choice for chief on Nov. 11.
Abbott said the police board decided to delay the vote and hold a special meeting because one of the commissioners, Thomas Murphy, was not present during the meeting Monday morning.
Retired Niagara County Sheriff's chief deputy Steve Preisch has been serving as interim police chief since Michael Neithe announced his retirement from the post in June.
Police board members met in executive session for a little less than an hour on Monday. Preisch was in attendance during eight minutes of the executive session, according to City Clerk Richelle Pasceri.
Acting Mayor David Wohleben had told the Common Council last week that the police board was poised to pick a new chief today. Wohleben said their were four candidates interviewed by the police board, including Preisch. Police Capt. Douglas Haak has also confirmed his interest in the job.
According to city Finance Director Scott Schrader, the Common Council does not need to approve the police board's choice for chief, unless the board decides to deviate from the terms and conditions that the council set for the post.
Preisch, at the time of his interim appointment, had said he was not interested in the job long-term. The Pendleton resident acknowledged earlier this month that he had changed his mind.
“I think it’s the fact that the longer I stayed, the more invested I’ve become in the department,” he told the US&J previously.
As interim chief, Preisch undertook efforts to reduce police overtime, address equipment deficiencies and improve department efficiencies and training; and he said that if he gets the permanent appointment, he wants to restore LPD's accreditation with the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. The department withdrew from the accreditation program in January, a move that Niethe had said was forced by strict record-keeping requirements.
City residency requirements for employees do not extend to police, according to Corporation Counsel John Ottaviano.
The 2019 city budget allocates $103,000 for the police chief’s salary.