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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, June 2, 2011
Pucci to take Civil Service exam
By Jo E. Prout
ALTAMONT Altamont’s public safety commissioner, Todd Pucci, will take the Civil Service exam for police chiefs this Saturday.
Pucci told The Enterprise that he expects to pass, but that he will not learn the results of his exam for four to six weeks.
Pucci was appointed by the village board in December 2010 after eight months of turmoil in Altamont’s small police department. Former Commissioner Anthony Salerno had refused to say whether or not he took a May 2010 Civil Service test required for all those in charge of municipal police departments. Salerno had been hired provisionally five years earlier with the requirement he pass the exam.
Pucci was hired with the same provision; he expected to take the exam in March, but it was not available until June 4, he said earlier.
Before Pucci’s appointment, Altamont worked with Albany County’s Department of Civil Service to appeal to the state’s Civil Service Commission to avoid the exam for Salerno; the request was denied in July 2009 as the commission found a “lack of compelling evidence” and cited the “clear practicability” of the exam. None of this was discussed publicly.
The village board named Salerno “team leader” when his provisional time as commissioner ran out. The board essentially doubled Salerno’s rate of pay, although it reduced his hours, leaving him with a similar salary. Mayor James Gaughan was named provisional leader. Salerno did not say why he had not taken the exam for five years, but he stated, after his name did not appear on the Civil Service exam results, that he had previously planned to retire.
Public scrutiny and concerns about village liability with the mayor heading the department led the village to begin a new search for a commissioner. At its October meeting, the board revealed a new timeline for placing a qualified person in the commissioner post by December.
Pucci, who had trained through Altamont’s police department and who has been a part-time officer with Altamont since 1997, was appointed then.
“I’m pretty confident I will do well,” Pucci said when he was hired.
He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University at Albany.
Pucci works full-time in Altamont for $40,000 per year, and continues his full-time work with the Cohoes police department. He said previously that his Cohoes position is flexible, and that he would be able to adjust his schedule when needed.
When Pucci applied to the Cohoes department, he scored a 100 on the entrance exam, he said. Pucci graduated from the academy first in his class, he said, while working two full-time jobs.
Pucci is the technical coordinator for the City of Cohoes police department, and he performs tech duties for the village of Altamont while acting as commissioner.