Binghamton Police Chief on Administrative Leave
Binghamton Mayor Richard David has announced he has placed city Police Chief Joseph Zikuski on paid administrative leave until further notice.
The action follows a discrimination complaint filed by police officer Kristi Sager with the state Division of Human Rights.
Sager’s complaint alleged Zikuski had made sexual advances toward her and other women in the police department.
During a City Hall news conference, David said the city expects to receive official notification of the complaint in the next few days.
The mayor said he does not want the accusations to be a distraction for the police department “as due process takes its course.”
David said he met with Zikuski prior to the annoucement and advised him he would be placed on paid administrative leave starting March 24.
The mayor said assistant police chief William Yeager has been appointed to serve as acting chief.
David said he has directed the personnel and safety director to interview all female officers to reiterate the city’s sexual harassment policy and discuss any concerns they may have.
The mayor said the interviews are “ongoing but no concerns have yet been raised.”
David noted Sager made accusations against Zikuski during a disciplinary hearing. The mayor said Sager’s disciplinary hearing will be “temporarily postponed” to allow everyone to cooperate with the state investigation.
David said the disciplinary hearing and Sager’s allegations regarding Zikuski are “two separate matters.”
Shortly after the mayor said the disciplinary hearing was being postponed, attorney Ronald Benjamin, who is representing Sager, said the session was “back on.”
Benjamin said he planned to be at City Hall with Sager at 10 a.m. March 24 for the hearing. He said the city had advised him the hearing was being postponed without advising him of the mayor’s intention to place Zikuski on administrative leave.
Benjamin said he regarded that action as the “city’s cutting its losses” in an effort to demonstrate a response to Sager’s allegations.