Sheriff Surrenders Authority Over Son

Sheriff Surrenders

Authority Over Son

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

County Rep. Ed Frazier, foreground, thanks chair David Bliss for breaking the deadlock over the investigation of the sheriff’s prison-guard son. (Jim Kevliin/

COOPERSTOWN – After a 15-month standoff, Ros Devlin’s fate as a correctional officer is now in the hands of the chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

With one abstention and two absences, the county reps voted a few minutes ago to accept Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s proposal to turn over authority for investigating and possibly removing his son from his job to county board Chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego.

In a short discussion, county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, first thanked Bliss for moving matters forward, but he asked the county labor attorney, Matt Ryan, “Does this get us where we need to be?”

Ryan assured Frazier that the sheriff giving up his authority under Section 72 of the state Civil Service Law allows Bliss to order a medical examination of the sheriff’s son, and then to proceed according to all the other powers contained in that section.

County Rep. Keith McCarty, R-East Springfield, abstained.

Devlin’s son has been on paid suspension since January 2017, when he allegedly threatened to create a diversion at Milford and Oneonta schools, and in the subsequent confusion would commit suicide in front of a supervisor who had disciplined him in a couple of cases.

The sheriff, at odds with then-county board chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, resisted taking action against his son.  But now, with Clark off the board helm and her husband, retired state trooper Bob Fernandez, running against him this year, he decided on the current course of action.


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