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Steuben legislature repeals controversial resolution on Sheriff Allard’s liability insurance

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Steuben County Legislature has repealed Resolution Number 186-23, a contentious measure initially passed on September 25, which mandated Sheriff Jim Allard to obtain personal liability insurance for lawsuits related to his duties as sheriff.

This resolution, criticized for its unprecedented nature, compared the Sheriff to a contractor and required him to purchase insurance at his own expense or face the loss of his salary and the ability to perform his duties. The repeal follows concerns about the legal and practical implications of the resolution, including the fact that the Sheriff was already covered under the County’s blanket insurance policy.

The repeal of Resolution 186-23 was part of a pair of resolutions impacting the Sheriff’s status and operations. The other resolution, which revoked the County’s responsibility to indemnify the Sheriff under the Public Officer Law for legal fees and liabilities incurred in official duties, remains under legal challenge. The Sheriff had challenged the legality of both September 25 resolutions in the New York State Supreme Court, resulting in a Supreme Court Justice enjoining both from taking effect. The unexpected repeal of Resolution 186-23 came without prior notice to the Sheriff or public debate, and had it been enforced, it could have effectively left the County without a Sheriff.

Amidst this ongoing legal dispute, the New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) has expressed concern over the potential statewide impact of the Steuben County Legislature’s actions. NYSSA has sought permission to file a ‘friend of the court’ brief in support of the Sheriff, highlighting the detrimental consequences the loss of indemnification could have on law enforcement operations across New York State.

Despite these challenges, the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office assures residents that it remains dedicated to its public safety mission, with all personnel continuing to perform their full range of responsibilities and services. For more information, residents can follow the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook or visit their website.