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Amityville's police chief, lieutenant to retire by July

The Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in

The Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in Amityville Village on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

Amityville Village Police Chief Don Dobby and Lt. Gerard Gralton will retire from the department in coming days, trustees said Monday.

Dobby, 56, told trustees last week in an email he will retire by Thursday and Gralton, 57, will retire as of July 3.

The retirements presage a long-term shift in how the department is run, with the lieutenant's position to be eliminated, trustee Nick LaLota said. A commissioner will be hired in the next six to 12 months to handle most administrative work, leaving a new chief to handle strictly law-enforcement duties, he said.

Sgt. Glenn Slack will take over as interim police chief after Gralton's departure, he said.

Mayor James Wandell said he did not know the reason for Dobby's retirement, but noted that the chief -- with roughly 30 years of service on the force -- has grown children.

Dobby did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Gralton declined to comment.

Wandell and LaLota praised the retiring officers. "There's no more professional chief that I know of on Long Island," Wandell said.

Dobby and Gralton have led the department during a time of tension between some trustees and the union representing village officers over police pay. That tension heightened this month when the PBA filed a grievance with the village over a plan to reduce night differential pay, a percentage-based salary bump given to officers for working half the year on night shifts.

"The work environment [in the department] is hostile and toxic," trustee Dennis Siry said, describing a situation in which he said Dobby and Gralton were caught between warring union and village board factions. He placed most of the blame on three board colleagues who support reduced police pay.

Without its two top officers, Siry said, the department "is going to be lost for a while."

PBA officials, through a representative, declined to comment Monday.

Dobby, who joined the force in 1985, and Gralton, who joined in 1984, are the village's highest-paid employees, with gross pay last year of $236,333 and $227,915, respectively, according to the village payroll.

Replacing the lieutenant's position with a police commissioner will save the village about $100,000 a year, LaLota said.

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