ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Police reform implementation continues in Albany. Mayor Sheehan announced Tuesday that retired city court judge Gary Stiglmeier is the city’s new Public Safety Commissioner.

The position was added to the city’s 2022 budget. Stiglmeier’s role will be to arbitrate discipline for officers accused of misconduct who make an appeal. The first part of the city’s arbitration process will remain the same, with the police department’s Office of Professional Standards doing an initial investigation when an officer is accused, and Chief Eric Hawkins issuing discipline accordingly.

But now, instead of an outside arbitrator stepping in if the officer appeals, Stiglmeier will hold hearings and issue the final discipline.

Stiglmeier will also advise Sheehan and Hawkins on implementing other recommendations from Albany’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

Other Capital Region cities already have a Public Safety Commissioner.  In Saratoga Springs, it’s an elected role, where the commissioner not only oversees discipline for police, but overall operations for a number of departments, and also appoints several positions like animal control officer.

However, the part-time commissioner in Albany with a $50k salary is based off the approach in Schenectady, where the appointed official reports to the mayor.

“We really were looking at the Schenectady model because the issue that we have in the city of Albany, that we heard lots of concerns about both internally and externally, was when it came to discipline,” Sheehan said.

Stiglmeier will not oversee day-to-day operations of the police department, and Hawkins will continue to report to Sheehan, as well. Hawkins said he’s always been troubled by the outside arbitration process, and is confident Stiglmeier will be fair on the rare occasion a disciplinary matter requires arbitration.

“It’s good to know that in the event that happens, we have someone who’s familiar with the city, someone who’s respected by both the city and the unions,” Hawkins said.