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Civil Service test weeds out Gouverneur chief candidates

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GOUVERNEUR — The village’s interim police chief failed to pass a Civil Service exam for the position, but a sergeant in the department is on the eligible list, complicating how the village will manage the force.

“We have a list of one,” Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said. “We’re going to analyze this.”

The village appointed Gordon F. Ayen Jr. provisional chief last year but he must pass a Civil Service exam for permanent appointment.

The only person to pass the test was Laurina M. Greenhill, who was promoted to sergeant when Mr. Ayen was named chief.

“From what I understand, it’s a very difficult test,” said Trustee Charles W. Newvine.

The test also stumped Victor N. Rycroft, the village of Canton’s temporary police chief and a retired state police sergeant. The top three scorers for Canton are Nathaniel A. Amritt, Nassau County, and Augustus T. “Gus” Burns and Shawn Wells, both members of the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

Mr. Ayen was not available for comment but Mr. Rycroft earlier described the test as grueling.

After David C. Whitton retired as Gouverneur chief, Mr. Ayen, then the department’s sergeant, became acting chief.

Mr. McDougall said Civil Service law and village attorney Henry J. Leader will guide the village’s actions.

Christopher S. Boulio, St. Lawrence County’s director of human resources, was unavailable for comment and Mr. Leader did not return a call.

“Any decisions we make are going to be predicated on people’s needs,” Mr. McDougall said. “It will be in the best interest of police protection and our budget.”

The department has been short-staffed. Besides Mr. Ayen and Ms. Greenhill, the force consists of three officers, including a recent police academy graduate, and one officer on leave.

“We don’t want to throw any more curveballs into that department,” Mr. Newvine said.

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