JOHNSTOWN — Gloversville Water Superintendent Christopher Satterlee was questioned by Johnstown police in early March about records he forwarded to the state.
Although he was not arrested following questioning, the incident left some city of Gloversville officials upset at a time when both cities are trying to communicate better.
Coming one month after a celebrated meeting in February aimed at strengthening communication between Gloversville and Johnstown officials, the incident soured some associated with Gloversville government.
Johnstown police Chief Mark Gifford said Monday that there has been some “misinformation” about what happened with Satterlee.
The Johnstown police chief said Satterlee sent a correspondence last year to the state Office of General Services.
He “falsified a business record,” Gifford said.
Gifford said the office of Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown said Satterlee’s actions actually rose to alleged “criminality.” But he said the city of Johnstown, the potential complaintant — as advised by Johnstown City Attorney Michael Poulin — didn’t seek charges against Satterlee or former Johnstown Water Board President Nicholas Cannizzo.
The late Frank LaPorta, former Gloversville mayor, and former Johnstown Mayor Robert Schultz and the Glove Cities water boards signed a mutual agreement for water services between the Glove Cities in 2003.
Cannizzo approached Satterlee last year about purchasing a truck for the Johnstown Water Department from a state contract. Johnstown couldn’t get a permit number needed to complete the state paperwork, with Johnstown’s board asking Satterlee to get the permit number from the state.
Satterlee sent a Nov. 1 application to the state, representing Johnstown, which he said he thought he could do under the 2003 agreement.
The application says the name of the agency is “Johnstown Water Department,” with Satterlee listing himself as “superintendent.”
Gifford said he and Johnstown police Lt. David Gilbo interviewed both Satterlee and Cannizzo at the Johnstown police station after OGS kicked the application back to the city of Johnstown with questions.
Gifford said that Satterlee “circumvented” the system in order to help the Johnstown Water Board purchase the truck. The police chief said that usually that type of water board matter would be handled legally through Johnstown City Treasurer Michael Gifford.
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said Monday that the matter involving Satterlee could have been handled in a professional, internal way without Johnstown police “interrogation.”
“It’s very frustrating he was treated this way,” King said.
The mayor said Satterlee was merely acting on the 2003 water agreement, in which he was just to assist Johnstown with a purchase.
King said Johnstown police “jumped the gun.” He said that although Satterlee wasn’t arrested, he was threatened initially to be charged with a felony and then to be charged with a misdemeanor,
Nevertheless, King said of the police intervention: “I respect them to investigate.”
Mark Gifford said the Johnstown Police Department did its due diligence in interviewing Satterlee on March 1— something some Gloversville officials referred to as an “interrogation.” He said Satterlee was read his rights, he admitted to wrongdoing, and told police he wouldn’t repeat such actions again regarding records.
Gifford said Satterlee was read his rights and had retained attorney Michael Smrtic.
Cannizzo was also advised of his rights and he told police he would retain an attorney, the police chief said.
Cannizzo, whose board service dates back to 1982, resigned in April. At the time he said a spate of city-related issues soured him about continuing on the board, adding he has to watch his health, and that being on the board is “not good for my family life.”