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Gun found in city official's desk

ALBANY -- Albany City Commissioners will likely discuss a report that a non-elected city official had a handgun tucked away in their desk, possibly in violation of the city's Anti-Violence in the Workplace policy, in closed session following this morning's public meeting.

While authorities declined to speak directly about the allegation or identify the person directly, citing personnel privacy concerns, Albany Mayor Willie Adams said he was "aware of rumors" within the city, but that the issue would be discussed in an executive or closed-door meeting following the public commission meeting.

Under the city's current personnel policy manual, city employees are forbidden from possessing or carrying firearms within city buildings unless they fall under exceptions that include police officers, code enforcement or other investigators, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson, whose office licenses handguns for concealed-carry permits, said that legally, possessing a firearm in a private office is protected under the law, so long as the business owner agrees to allow it. But the law becomes muddy when the person works for a government entity and has the weapon in a public, government building.

"You can carry it at your workplace as it has been considered an extension of your home, but you must have the permission of the business owner," Stephenson said. "I believe, technically, since the City Commission would be the employer of this person that it would be up to their policy to determine whether it was proper or not."

Smith did say that the gun was discovered inadvertently and was reported to the city manager's office.