ALBANY, N.Y. - The replacement for the State Police superintendent who retired amid the scandal enveloping Governor David Paterson announced his own retirement yesterday, after just a week in the top job.
Acting Superintendent Pedro Perez said he was stepping down after 28 years in the State Police, following former superintendent Harry Corbitt out the door.
Perez automatically succeeded Corbitt under the agency’s strict rules of succession by rank, but Paterson chose Field Commander John Melville, who the governor felt would be best for the morale of the department, according to a Paterson administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly for Paterson.
The decision was not intended to demean Perez or his solid career, but Paterson favored Melville as the best one to restore leadership to the department and confidence to the public.
In his resignation letter, Perez said his departure was “not premised on the current investigation by the attorney general,’’ who is looking into whether troopers from Paterson’s security detail and the governor made improper contact with a woman who had accused a Paterson aide of abuse.
“My decisions over time, combined with the indication that you are seeking a new superintendent and the labor unions’ perception of my ability to lead the agency, have led me to the conclusion that continuing in my position as acting superintendent may be an obstacle to progress of the New York State Police, an agency I love,’’ Perez wrote to the governor.
Thomas Mungeer - president of the union that represents uniformed troopers, including those in the governor’s security detail - had said they needed fresh leadership. Perez was Corbitt’s handpicked number two, also responsible for trooper discipline, which caused some union issues, he said.
Melville will take over as acting superintendent tomorrow, the agency said.