RYE, N.Y. -- Rye voters, by more than a two-to-one margin, passed a proposition on Tuesday to create a public safety commissioner who will oversee both the police and fire departments in that city.
The unofficial vote, according to the Westchester County Board of Elections, was 4,150 for and 1,978 against.
Rye Mayor Joseph Sack said he is pleased with the fact that the referendum was approved by a wide margin.
"This is good news for the City of Rye. I'd like to thank the voters for approving this measure," Sack told Daily Voice on Wednesday. "This is an important first step towards bringing public safety services in Rye into the 21st-century."
In his nine months on the job as Rye's top cop, Sack said that Police Commissioner Michael C. Corcoran Jr. "has provided strong leadership to the police department, and it is likely that he will be named to this new consolidated role. But I will leave it to the city manager to determine that timeline."
Proposition No. 1 creates a city Department of Public Safety and a public safety commissioner -- like one that exists in the City of White Plains.
On July 18, the Rye City Council adopted a resolution authorizing a new Article 12 of the city charter to create the Department of Public Safety and a position of public safety commissioner.
The public safety commissioner would supervise both the Rye police and fire departments. The measure rescinds Rye City Charter Articles 12 and 13 which separate management of the police and fire departments.
Proponents say the measure may help make the fire department, which has paid firefighters as well as volunteers, more accountable and possibly save taxpayer money. Opponents of the measure fear it merely creates more bureaucracy at the top and may give the public safety commissioner too much, expanded authority.