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When 'mimimum' really means 'recommended'

John Glascott is the county's new central police services commissioner. (Derek Gee/ Buffalo News)What's the meaning of "minimum qualifications?"

When it comes to certain Erie County jobs, it turns out, not much.

This was the question on the mind of Erie County Legislator Edward A. Rath III when the county's new Central Police Services commissioner came to answer questions before the County Legislature's Public Safety Committee last week.

John A. Glascott, right, a former Cheektowaga police captain who challenged Sheriff Timothy B. Howard in the 2009 election, is on the job, but still needs formal confirmation from the full Erie County Legislature.

Glascott has had a long career in law enforcement that started at the Attica Correctional Facility. He started working for the Cheektowaga Police Department in 1978. Since 2009, he has worked as the department's captain of information technology and finance.

What he doesn't have is a bachelor's degree.

Glascott, of Cheektowaga, earned an associate degree in applied science in criminal justice from Erie Community College and attended the FBI National Academy for training, according to his resume. 

Rath wanted to know whether it mattered that the county's job description for Commissioner of Police Services listed one of the "minimum qualifications" as "graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or related field."

Glascott, addressing Rath's question, said he earned the associate degree before getting tied up raising a family and working long hours for the Cheektowaga Police Department. He told legislators that his 40 years in law enforcement should make up for "the fact that I didn't take an art history course back in the day."

Legislator Timothy R. Hogues, who serves on a Central Police Services board that vetted Glascott, said the question came up in the interview process and that the board determined the "minimum qualifications" was only a recommendation.

Reached after the meeting, John Greenan, the county's commissioner of personnel, said that is the case. The job of central police services commissioner, he said, falls under the category of  "unclassified service"  in the state's civil service law. That's the category that includes elected officials and certain types of appointments.

"By law," Greenan said, "there are no qualifications for the job."

It doesn't appear legislators will hold up Glascott's confirmation when the Legislature meets next week.

Glascott received unanimous approval from the Legislature's Public Safety Committee, which included Rath's vote.

Committee votes almost always sail through the full Legislature.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

Photo Credit: (Derek Gee/ Buffalo News)


Edward A. Rath III | Erie County | Erie County Legislature | John Glascott
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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

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Jerry Zremski

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