Charged with stealing a vacuum cleaner, the police chief of the village of Greene has been swept out of his $69,000-a-year job after village trustees refused to allow him to rescind a letter of resignation.
The vote to accept the resignation of Chief Steve Dutcher was unanimous, said Greene Village Mayor Phil Brown. Village trustees in the Chenango County community held a special meeting on the matter Monday night, he said.
"We have an investigation that is ongoing," Brown said when contacted by The Daily Star today.
The mayor said one of the part-time officers on the five-member village police squad has been appointed the acting chief.
State Police confirmed today that a Bureau of Criminal Investigations detective charged Dutcher last Thursday with petit larceny and second-degree harassment. No information was available on the nature of the harassment allegation,
Dutcher, 43, told Binghamton television station WBNG that the theft charge involved a village-owned vacuum cleaner that he uses to clean the patrol car assigned to him. Dutcher is also the department's only K-9 officer.
The vacuum cleaner, valued at $127, has been returned to the village offices, the station quoted Dutcher as saying.
Dutcher was also quoted by WBNG as calling the investigation that led to the charges "a witchhunt." He also said he has received 10 consecutive "perfect evaluations" from village officials since he was appointed chief in 2004.
The mayor said the chief submitted a letter of resignation recently then later provided village officials with another letter rescinding the resignation. Brown said the trustees decided to accept Dutcher's resignation but not the request to rescind it
Dutcher, a resident of the village, did not immediately respond to a message left at his home today.