Granville reacts to Whitehall decision

N o sewer jet for you.

Granville Village Mayor Jay Niles said the Seinfeld-esque phrase will be the village’s response to requests for assistance until the impending lawsuit by the village of Whitehall is resolved.

Whitehall announced plans to continue to pursue approximately $15,000 that the village board believes it is owed for training police officer Mark Morrill because Morrill accepted a position with the Granville village police seven months after completing academy training at Whitehall’s expense.

Niles said due to that pending litigation Granville would not be providing any services to Whitehall unless a life-threatening situation were involved.

“Right now, and I can’t speak for the board, but we can’t do it (provide help). We’re not going to. Legally, with a suit pending, I don’t want to put the village in any legal jeopardy. If they offered to contract for that, that would have to go to the board,” Niles said.

“I’ll talk with the board, but I don’t think we’ll consult on matters that they could solve themselves,” Niles said.

Public works supervisor George Johnson had just approached him last Thursday morning with a request to bring the Granville sewer jet truck over to Whitehall – Niles said he told Johnson he could not go.

“I told him we’re not going to be providing that type of service now that there is pending litigation and that’s going to be our stance,” Niles said.

“We’re certainly available if there’s any case or a situation that impacts human life or emergency services,” Niles said.

Clarifying later in the day, Niles said he thought the villages should continue to work together because the legal issue would “work itself out eventually.” In the event of a major event in Whitehall, he said, Granville would help out. 

Niles said Tuesday morning was the first time he became aware of Whitehall’s July 20 decision when a reporter called him at home asking for comment. As of Thursday neither Village Attorney Mike Martin nor the village had received the letter from Whitehall.

“I did call Mike Martin; it’s really moved to his jurisdiction now,” Niles said.

The village awaits a letter from Whitehall Village Attorney and State Assemblyman Tony Jordan stating Whitehall’s position on the issue and what municipal laws are affected from their viewpoint, he said.

Once Martin receives the information and formulates a response, Niles said, he will bring the matter before the board. It was not clear if Martin would be able to bring the matter before the board at its next meeting on Aug. 10, he said. Niles said he had since read the most recent article covering the dispute.

In reaction to discussion, at the Whitehall meeting, of the legality of the provision in the Granville police contract that stipulates officers trained at village expense must remain with the department or be responsible to repayment of a portion of those expenses, Niles said he was not concerned.

Niles has said he thinks it is up to Whitehall to include language similar to the Granville police contract, which holds officers responsible for their employment decisions after receiving training paid for by the municipality.

“It would seem to me (the provision) received approval by the attorney for the (Police Benevolent Association) PBA and our attorney prior to being accepted. I would accept their decision that it’s an appropriate part of their contract because it passed legal muster (between the two attorneys); it passed their scrutiny,” he said. 

Niles said the village could do little else at this point in the process.

“I think now we’ll just wait until we get official notification from the Whitehall board. We’re waiting for the letter, which then will go to Mike Martin, then he’ll come to the board,” Niles said. 

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