Executive director selected for Police Accountability Board in Rochester

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Conor Dwyer Reynolds was selected as the executive director to oversee the nine-member board. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - On Friday, the first executive director for the Police Accountability Board in Rochester was announced.

Conor Dwyer Reynolds was selected as the executive director to oversee the nine-member board. The board was established after 75 percent of voters approved its creation last November. Four members are picked by the City Council, four by the Police Accountability Board Alliance, and one by the office of the mayor.

The executive director is tasked with developing procedures for the filing of complaints and how they are heard, reviewing cases compiled by accountability examiners and representing the board at various public functions, including City Council meetings.

Dwyer Reynolds was selected from a field of more than 150 candidates.

“If given time and the right financial resources, there is no question that the Board has the expertise and power to help create an accountable public safety system," Dwyer Reynolds said. "A system that reflects the priorities of all our people, including Black and Brown people, women, people with disabilities, unhoused people, people who disproportionately face poverty, police officers, and our LGBTQ community, especially our Black trans community that constantly suffers exclusion and violence."

Salary range for the position is listed between $74,491 and $95,582 annually, which will be provided by a budget allocated by the Rochester City Council.

As initially created, the board had investigative, subpoena and disciplinary power. Advocates said it provided a needed layer of accountability.

In May, a judge struck down a key provision of the Police Accountability Board as the result of a lawsuit by the Rochester Police Locust Club. In his ruling, Judge John Ark said the board’s power of being able to conduct disciplinary hearings or to carry out discipline goes against state law and the city charter.

Ark ruled that duties assigned to the board would be allowed to continue.

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City Council appealed that ruling in July, arguing Rochester is not permitted to collectively bargain police discipline, the court’s attempt to distinguish controlling court of appeals precedent fails, and the city charter was lawfully amended to allow for the board to create a disciplinary matrix.

Attorneys for City Council are hoping for a decision by early 2021.

Dwyer Reynolds will begin his service as executive director on October 19. His official confirmation is subject to Rochester City Council approval at the November 10 meeting.