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EXCLUSIVE: Valentino says search for Geneva’s next police chief will be expedited, led by city manager

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

The City of Geneva is looking for a new police chief.

According to a press release from the city, as of March 29, Matthew Colton, who had been on leave for most of 2024 while an internal investigation was unfolding, resigned from the position.

Details of what led to his leave or resignation were not immediately available.

The City said in an announcement that a search for a new chief would begin immediately and in the meantime, retired chief Michael Passalacqua would return to hold the interim title.

“As a previous search was conducted in 2023, the Civil Service eligible list for internal and external candidates is still a valid list and a canvass of the applicants will be processed by Ontario County Human Resources,” the city added in a statement. “Once an eligible list is certified an interview process will commence immediately. The interview process will include internal and external stakeholder interviews as well as a community interview and review.”

In an exclusive conversation this morning with, Mayor Steve Valentino discussed the situation less than 24 hours after City Council’s April meeting. “The best I can say at this point is Chief Colton has put in his resignation as of last Friday, and we are immediately starting the search process for the new replacement and I just can’t thank City Manager Amie Hendrix enough,” Valentino said of the situation. “I also can’t thank our previous chief, Michael Passalacqua enough for coming back.”

As for timeline, which Valentino says could be expedited by the fact that civil service examinations from the last chief’s hiring process are still valid, is uncertain. However, the Mayor says he’s optimistic about how Council will move forward.

“Those test results are still there, so we don’t have to wait for the next civil service test,” he explained. “We had previously two internal candidates and one of the reasons for going to the interim police chief was to allow those lieutenants to return back to their original position, and if they’re still interested in the chief of police position, they can definitely move forward.”

He noted that any previous candidates are also going to be eligible to enter the new process, too. “We expect the process to be expedited, especially when compared to the previous time we did this.”

Valentino noted that Council’s role in the process will be somewhat muted compared to the last search. “I want to be clear, because the City Manager is responsible for hiring the chief of police, so Council’s role in the actual hiring process is more of a monitoring how the city manager’s process goes,” he continued. “And the city manager was very effective last time by including members of the community in that process, so I expect that to take place again.”

The Mayor didn’t shy away from concerns that this entire internal investigation had brought to light. “You know, as far as city council, we have all been concerned since the beginning of the year. You never expect these kinds of things to take place, and you want to be as open and transparent as possible, but there are a lot of legal implications. Council is definitely a little bit restless. We’d like to get some things behind us.”