The City of Auburn is saying goodbye to the man who has headed its Police Department since the late 1990s. YNN's Bill Carey says Chief Gary Giannotta is stepping down from the job on Tuesday.
AUBURN, N.Y. – “It's tough to prepare for your last day,” said Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta.
Until a few weeks ago, Gary Giannotta had no thoughts of leaving office at the end of July. He had first taken the oath as an Auburn police officer back in 1981. It's a job he says he loves.
Giannotta said, “It's been a great career. It really has. I've been allowed to do a lot of really progressive things here. We've pretty much taken the department out of the Stone Age, which is when I came in, and brought it into the first century.”
After working for more than three decades with the Auburn Police Department, more than 16 years as chief, Gary Giannotta was still hoping to work a couple of more years in his job. But that all changed after action taken at this building, Auburn City Hall.
The Auburn City Council was facing big budget deficits in its latest spending plan. In the end, over Giannotta's objections, council members ordered cuts in the police department that included chopping the position of Deputy Chief. It was a post that was created five years into Giannotta's tenure as chief. Without a deputy, he says, his workload would have doubled.
“What bothered me the most was, if they were going to make these changes, they probably should have come to me and talked to me about it. And, perhaps, I could have chosen alternatives. That never happened. I basically got blind-sided, and I'm not in a position where I want to do this again,” Giannotta said.
While he is still clearly bother by what happened, Giannotta says he is putting that all behind now. Preparing for the adjustment to life as a civilian, something he says will be a challenge after more than 30 years in police work. He says he'll walk away with no bitterness.
Giannotta said, “This is what I wanted to be since I was a little kid. I've always wanted to be a police officer. It's always been my dream. And I not only achieved my dream, I surpassed it. I actually got to be head of a department, which is an unbelievable honor. It really is. To be the chief of police in the city of Auburn is an honor and a privilege.”
Will Giannotta ever return to police work? For now, he says it's too early to tell.
A 27 year veteran of the Auburn police force, Captain Brian Neagle, is due to assume the post of chief on Wednesday.