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Rensselaer Co. settles with former jail chief

Jan 10, 2019 12:30 pm
The Times Union is reporting Rensselaer County has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the former chief of the county jail over allegations that she was fired by former Sheriff Jack Mahar for refusing to retaliate against a jail guard. The case was filed in 2014 and the county has agreed to settle for a total of $350,000. The county will pay 10 percent, or $35,000, with the county's insurance carrier, Trident Insurance, handing over the remaining $315,000. Mahar hired Ruth Frederick Vibert in 2012 as chief of operations at the jail, following reports of multiple problems at the facility, including allegations of mistreatment and physical abuse. Roughly one year into her tenure, Vilbert's relationship with Mahar had broken down and she was fired in March 2013. Vilbert argued in her federal complaint that she was dismissed after refusing to take action against an officer who blew the whistle on workplace violence at the jail. The individual alleged to have perpetrated the violence was a friend of Mahar. Speaking about the settlement, Legislature Chairman Michael Stammel, a Republican from Rensselaer, said, “From our perspective it was good. We thought that lawsuit payment suit would be better than half a million. The attorneys did a good job of negotiating.” Read the full story in the Times Union.