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Sheriff Allard continues challenge Steuben Legislature over indemnification repeal

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard is confronting the Steuben County Legislature over its recent decision to rescind a 2017 law, which had offered the sheriff defense and indemnification against lawsuits.

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The dispute, which involves questions of the sheriff’s accountability and potential personal liability for actions taken during his tenure, has now escalated to the New York State Supreme Court.

County Manager Jack Wheeler asserted that state laws clearly indicate that the sheriff doesn’t require indemnification, while Allard contended that the legislature’s move lacked transparency and was made without significant public input.

The Legislature’s move obliges Sheriff Allard to secure liability insurance consistent with industry norms. They also passed a resolution demanding the sheriff acquire insurance coverage of up to $1 million per incident and a $3 million annual aggregate.


Sheriff Allard will not be permitted to perform any duties or receive any compensation until the insurance has been secured. County Legislature Chairman Scott Van Etten defended the Legislature’s stance, emphasizing that the requirement ensures all county employees, including those in the sheriff’s department, are safeguarded against harassment and discrimination claims.

However, Peter R. Kehoe, executive director of the New York State Sheriff’s Association, claimed this move is a direct attack on the independence of the sheriff’s office.