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Broome County Legislature waives residency requirement for undersheriff

Vaughn Golden
Sheriff Fred Akshar selected Sammy Davis as his undersheriff, making the county Legislature address a policy requiring the official to live in Broome County.

In its last session of 2022, the Broome County Legislature voted to remove a policy requiring the undersheriff to reside within the county.

Broome County’s new sheriff, Fred Akshar, took office on Jan. 1, bringing with him Sammy Davis as his undersheriff. But that required some approval by the county Legislature.

Davis lives just across the border in Tioga County. A week before Akshar and Davis took office, the county Legislature passed a measure removing the residency requirement for the undersheriff position, but not without some opposition.

Four legislators voted against the measure, including Democrats Mark Whelan, Suzy Ryan and Karen Beebe. Stephen Flagg was the lone Republican to vote no, arguing law enforcement leadership should be Broome County residents.

"When it comes to our security and safety in the community, I feel like the deputy should be living in the county that they serve and so I've consistently been against this,” Flagg said.

He added his opposition has nothing to do with Davis in particular.

Sheriff Fred Akshar said he believes Davis’ 20 years with the sheriff's department should take precedence over the location of his house.

“He's served with honor, distinction and earned the unequivocal and incontrovertible respect and appreciation of the men and women of not only the Broome County Sheriff's Office, but of other law enforcement agencies as well,” Akshar wrote in a statement to WSKG. “He's also successfully guided hundreds of local law enforcement recruits through the Police Academy as Director of Training, preparing them both mentally and physically to serve and protect communities both locally and across our State. The fact that his home sits 20 feet from the County line should in no way disqualify him from continuing to serve and protect this community as Undersheriff and help bring much-needed, positive change to the Broome County Sheriff's Office Administration.”

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.