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Zikuski to Return as Chief to Binghamton Police Department

Mayor David announced today that the City of Binghamton has officially received and reviewed Coughlin & Gerhart's independent third party review of the Binghamton Police Department.

The City hired the law firm in March to review the department's policies and procedures and determine if discrimination, harassment or retaliation is occurring.

Mayor David released the following statement on the report:

"Based on Coughlin & Gerhart’s multiple findings of “no complaints or evidence of harassment or discrimination” within the department and Officer Kristi Sager’s withdrawal of her complaint and acceptance of a 60-day unpaid suspension, I have ended Chief Zikuski’s paid administrative leave and he will return to work Wednesday.

I initiated this review because I take any and all allegations of harassment seriously. Separate and apart for the New York State Division of Human Rights investigation, I felt it was important for an independent third party to conduct a thorough assessment of police department policy and operations to determine if there were any other allegations of harassment or discrimination. At this time, the City considers this review complete.

While the report shows the current policies are “generally satisfactory,” the City will adopt all of the recommendations included in the Coughlin & Gerhart report. No additional changes, other than those referenced in the report by labor law experts, will be made at the current time.

Although Officer Sager’s complaint was withdrawn three weeks ago, I wanted to review the Coughlin & Gerhart report in its entirety to ensure the City did its due diligence before any actions were taken. I will work with Chief Zikuski and police administration to address other areas of concern identified in the report to improve morale and operations.

I thank Acting Chief William Yeager for leading the department during this challenging period and thank all our police officers for their ongoing professionalism and commitment to protecting our community.

City officials have coordinated a meeting between Coughlin & Gerhart’s lead attorney on this matter and members of Binghamton City Council for its July 20th work session to review the report and answer questions."