By Jeffery Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
CORNING - City officials seeking the termination of suspended Corning Fire Lieutenant Thomas Margeson since he was arrested in September for allegedly selling heroin have reached an agreement.
Under the terms of the settlement Margeson will retire from the Corning City Fire Department Jan. 31, 2018, said City Manager Mark Ryckman.
Margeson will take a demotion from lieutenant to firefighter third grade, Ryckman said. He will remain on paid leave through Jan. 31, and be paid at the rate of firefighter third grade. He has sufficient accrued time on the books to cover his wages to his retirement date.
Ryckman said Margetson will receive no cash out of any remaining accrued benefit time after his retirement date and forfeits his rights to retiree health benefit insurance.
“I’ve always been very upfront about disciplinary issues we have with our employees,” Ryckman said. “We’ve been very transparent. We’re seeking termination of his employment related to his arrest in Chemung County in September.”
Margeson, a Horseheads resident, was arrested in early September and charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was arrested as part of a 10-month long investigation by the Criminal Investigations Division into the sales of heroin in the Town of Horseheads.
The criminal case in Chemung County Court has not yet been scheduled.
Ryckman said Margeson is currently service retirement eligible.
“So to resolve these matters the city, the Corning Firefighters IAFF Local 932 and Margeson all came to an agreement,” Ryckman said. “The settlement requires him to retire on Jan. 31, take a demotion from lieutenant to firefighter grade three, be on paid leave until he retires, forfeit the cash out accrued time and forfeit his retiree health insurance.”
A Corning Fire Department lieutenant base wage is $69,861, a firefighter grade three in $46,366, Ryckman said. Margeson has worked at the Corning Fire Department for the past 19 years. He was sworn in as Lieutenant in 2014 and his 2016 salary was listed at $81,000.
Margeson is also the Assistant Chief of the Horseheads Volunteer Fire Department, where he is also suspended.
“The advantage to (the city) is we avoid a lengthy process and it allows the remaining members of the Fire Department to focus forward on the work that’s ahead of them,” Ryckman said. “The city would like to move forward to fill the position and just move forward.”
City Attorney Bryan Maggs said the lieutenant position held by Margeson can’t be filled until after his final day with the fire department.
Ryckman said the lieutenant position will likely be filled in the late winter early spring of 2018. Margeson could not be reached Wednesday for comment.