Controversy over Mayor Lovely Warren's security detail heightened today after the Albany Times Union reported her uncle and bodyguard was pulled over on the Thruway going 97 miles an hour. Reggie Hill was pulled over on the Thruway while transporting the mayor back from the State of the State address in a city Chevy Suburban.
Warren said she was on the phone when Hill was pulled over, but she knew he was not going 97 miles an hour. She said Hill, as a retired state trooper who did security for governors, thought he could speed and safely do so.
"You can ask any other people on a securiy detail, typically you go a little bit above what the other traffic is going," the mayor said. "Typically on the Thruway traffic is going between 65 and 75 miles per hour. He was going between 77 and 80."
The trooper did not issue a ticket, but told Hill he can't speed.
"The trooper explained that to him and said look you have to follow the rules like everyone else as it pertains to traffic regulations," Warren said. "You're not doing a security detail for the governor at this point in time."
State Police would not say how fast Hill was clocked. "We are aware it is possible a trooper effected discretion during a traffic stop involving the Mayor of Rochester last week. Having said that we want to be clear, we would never encourage or condone driving at an excessive rate of speed," a spokeswoman emailed.
Warren also answered general questions at a press conference Monday about her security detail. She did not advertise for the jobs or go through civil service. She said the jobs are temporary and would be advertising for them soon. Warren created two new positions for her security detail. One is filled by Hill, whose title is Director of Executive Services. The other is filled by a former Kodak security officer, Caesar Carbonell, who earns $61,000.
Warren said she has received threats, warranting this first-ever security detail for a Rochester mayor.
"I would like to think I don't need to have a security detail but there are number of people who do not believe I deserve to be in this position," said the mayor. She added someone told her, "You won't be here long" and she took it as a physical threat.
Warren said she does not think the hiring of her uncle needs to go before the City Board of Ethics, which can issue an advisory opinion. She said she followed the city's nepotism policy, because Hill reports to the deputy mayor, not her.
Warren would not take questions from News 8 during the press conference. Her spokeswoman said Warren was unhappy with questions posed to her about the security detail on social media. Although her spokesperson said News 8 would be allowed to ask questions at the press conference, Warren said, "Well, I'm the mayor."
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