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Clay: Commissioner, six officers speak in favor of merger

Six Clay police officers and the town's commissioner of public safety spoke out in support of the proposed consolidation of the department with the county sheriffs on Friday.

At a press conference at Town Hall, Commissioner Owen P. Honors broke his public silence on the proposal, which will go to voters in a referendum June 23.

"I've sat down and thought this over myself very carefully," Honors said of the proposal. "Our town supervisor, Jim Rowley, is not a liar. He's an honest person. Our sheriff, Kevin Walsh, is an honest person. I believe them when they say this is what's best for the town."

Other officers who approved of the measure were Officer Jim McKenna, Sgt. Ed Blanche, Sgt. Mark Schiano, Officer Dan Walker, Lt. Marty Nerber and Officer Dan Ferrazzoli. All six officers resigned their membership to the PBA this past January.

"Not all of us are opposed to this," said Nerber, a 14-year veteran of the Clay PD. "I believe consolidation is the way of the future. You're going to see it happen eventually; why not now? It's good for us, the officers -- there are a lot of benefits for us -- and it's good for the community."

Both Nerber and PBA spokesman Lt. Fred Corey said the officers' decision to leave the PBA had nothing to do with the merger proposal.

"They left for personal reasons -- ideological differences," Corey said.

Corey also emphasized that his previous statements were not intended to address the feelings of all members of the police department.

"When I speak, I speak on behalf of the PBA -- those nine members who are still active members of the PBA," he said. "Those are the only ones we represent. We never purported to represent the whole department, but maybe I wasn't clear on that."

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