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Hudson Valley

Former fire chief arrested following audit

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Albany/HV: Former fire chief arrested following audit
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The former chief of the Kingston Fire Department was arrested following an audit by the State Comptroller and an investigation by the Ulster County District Attorney's office. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the events that led up to this and the steps the city is taking to handle the issue.

KINGSTON, N.Y. -- Former Kingston Fire Chief Richard Salzmann turns himself in to Kingston city court Thursday morning. He’s arraigned on four misdemeanor charges. He's accused of altering employee payroll documents.

“Based on all of that information we determined that a crime had been committed and I directed that criminal charges be filed against Mr. Salzmann,” said Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright.

Salzmann's own time and attendance during the years of 2009 to 2011 raised eyebrows, prompting an audit by the state comptroller. It found that Salzmann was overpaid by more than $5,500, leading to an investigation by the Ulster County District Attorney's Office.

“He did receive money to which he was not entitled. That will be offset by money that the city has not paid him based on his retirement,” said Carnright.

Salzmann announced his retirement about a year ago for reasons cited as time and attendance issues. Following his retirement, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Rea was appointed to the chief's position, however, the audit shows discrepancies in his time and attendance as well.

Following the audit, recommendations were made to clean up record keeping, which is something Carnright says is already happening.

“Kudos to the mayor for recognizing that there needed to be a more transparent process, there needed to be checks and balances,” said Carnright. “We filed charges based on the state documents that were prepared. I’m fairly confident that we’ll be successful in those charges.”

Mayor Shayne Gallo isn't commenting on the arrest until Friday.

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