Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy J. Higgins’ exile from the sheriff’s substation in Elma is over.
Higgins, a 27-year veteran of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, will return to the substation in Elma Town Hall for his early-morning shift today as a result of a “handshake” agreement reached Friday with Town Supervisor Dennis M. Powers.
Higgins said he and Powers worked out a nonwritten “gentlemen’s agreement to let bygones be bygones, and we worked out our differences and are moving on.” The two held a 20-minute meeting Friday at the Iroquois School complex on Girdle Road.
Although assigned to road patrol in the Elma area, Higgins was not allowed to use the sheriff’s substation in the Elma Town Hall because town officials had complained to Sheriff Timothy B. Howard about his apparent disrespect of them.
Higgins would not discuss Friday the complaints of various Elma town officials that had prompted Howard to honor the town’s request.
In late March, thanks to arbitration proceedings launched by Higgins’ labor union representatives, arbitrator Michael Lewandowski found “not one scrap of evidence” to support complaints about Higgins by Elma officials. The arbitrator also ordered Howard to pay Higgins $8,300 for time he lost over the dispute. “I’m still trying to get that from the sheriff,” Higgins said Friday.
Efforts to reach Powers on Friday evening were unsuccessful
Powers previously told The Buffalo News that Higgins had threatened the Town Board in connection with a town employee and a political feud in that part of the county.
Higgins recently dropped a notice of claim he had filed against the town in February 2012 concerning a part-time court officer’s job he lost, which apparently contributed to the resolution of the dispute with the town.
During the 2011 town judge race, Higgins had openly favored incumbent Joseph A. Sakowski, who won re-election over a Town Board member who had sought the judicial post. That contributed to the dispute in town hall, sources close to the case said.
Higgins is the son of Thomas F. Higgins, who served as Erie County sheriff from 1986 to 1997.
The substation based in Elma Town Hall covers Elma, Marilla and Wales.