Castle Resigns

The Granville police officer who returned to work as a result of a judge’s order just a few months ago has resigned from the village department.

Patrol officer Joe Castle, a five-year veteran of the Granville Village Police, turned in his resignation Wednesday afternoon village officials said Thursday morning.

Castle’s one-sentence resignation letter simply said he was resigning his position effective immediately providing no explanation for the move.

Mayor Brian LaRose said Thursday he had not spoken to Castle and his resignation simply said he resigned ‘for personal reasons.’

“As far as the village is concerned he was an excellent employee,” LaRose said.

The injunction granted to Castle and the Granville Police Benevolent Association which allowed Castle to return to work was set to run out soon

The mayor said he had a meeting planned with the chief of police where the two would discuss what comes next for the village police department in terms of manning.

Patrol officer Josh Whitney recently completed police academy training, but must take the civil service exam before he can be hired as a full-time officer.

When he found out about the resignation LaRose said he tasked Chief Bassett with coming formulating a manpower plan and he would not know until their meeting what that plan called for, LaRose said.

“It took us all a little bit by surprise, but now we’ve do what’s best for the village and the department,” LaRose said. 

PBA President Sgt. David Williams said was aware Castle resigned.

With the resignation of Castle and the spot for retire full time officer Greg Bourn unfilled, Williams said the department was down two of six full time slot.

“Hopefully the village will get the department back up to full staffing,” Williams said.

Castle returned to duty following a court order by Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan April 28 halting the process which likely would have ended in his being forced off of the police department due to the residency question. The injunction provided 60 days for the New York State Union of Police Associations (NYSUPA) to resolve the issue, and that deadline has passed.

The PBA’s lawyer successfully made the case Castle should share in the injunction granted to corrections officers across the state, who like Castle, lived outside of the state while under the impression they were allowed to do so.

The corrections officers were granted a stay while it was decided how their cases would be handled. 

Castle, and fellow patrol officer Mark Morrill found out at the beginning of March they could not reside outside of New York State and continue to work as a police officers due to an obscure portion of civil service law that requires residency for those who hold public office, including police officers.

Officials told both men they must provide proof of New York state residency to remain on the job and both men were placed on administrative leave.

Morrill who had only recently moved across the border into Poultney, Vt. showed his driver’s license and other documentation which had not yet been switched over to Vermont and was taken off administrative leave within days and was able to stay of the job.

Morrill immediately began the process of moving back into New York State, officials said, where he now resides.

Castle did not provide the village with any proof of residency.

When he failed to comply with deadlines issued by the village the matter changed from administrative to disciplinary and the hearing date was set.

The judge’s order at least temporarily did away with the need for the disciplinary hearing.

An officer with five years on the Granville police force, Castle asked for, and was given permission to reside outside of the state when he was hired, officials said.

Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. and Sgt. Williams each confirmed inquiries were made with civil service at the county level asking if living in Vermont was permitted.

Bassett received confirmation the move was permitted and Castle accepted the job; one he told the police chief he did not plan to take unless he could reside in Vermont. 

Former Mayor Jay Niles said at the time the previously unknown issue was brought to his attention by a resident during a one on one meeting. Niles declined to identify the resident.

Village Attorney Mike Martin looked into the matter at Niles’ request and found that was the case as a number of corrections officers were facing the same issue across the state. When contacted by the Sentinel officer Castle declined to comment for this story. 

 

 

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