Sparks flew during the final days of testimony during the disciplinary hearing for suspended Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan when a longtime police officer testified Wednesday he had been told by a town councilman that Sullivan would be ousted.
Officer William Killian told the hearing officer he was “thunderstruck” by what Clarkstown Councilman Frank Borelli told him during a conversation at the Rockland Republican Committee’s Lincoln Day Victory Ball in April 2016.
“Mike Sullivan is not going to be police chief for much longer,” Killian said Borelli told him.
Killian, who has been with the department for 32 years and works the midnight shift, was shocked by the comments, said Sullivan's attorney Richard Glickel.
"These are important people making comments about his boss in public," Glickel said. "It's unbelievable."
Glickel said Wednesday's testimony fell right into place with Tuesday's when he said he was able to tick off one by one the allegations against the chief as unfounded.
"I gave Supervisor Hoehmann every chance to correct the many mistruths in the charges and he declined to do so even when we presented direct evidence disapproving his testimony," Glickel said.
But, Glickel said, Hoehmann said: "I stand by the charges."
The town's attorney, William Harrington said he believes the town's case is actually stronger: "The case was reaffirmed by the witnesses presented by Chief Sullivan," he said.
He added that in the end, Sullivan couldn't walk away from his initial testimony and his repeated admissions of wrongdoing, Harrington added.
The latest round of proceedings dealt with the final 22 charges against Sullivan, including insubordination, dereliction of duty, disobedience, and incompetence.
Earlier this week, the hearing officer, Robert Ponzini recommended Sullivan be suspended for 15 days without pay for violating four counts related to his cell phone. He was cleared of the other 15 of 19 charges.
"We absolutely feel confident about our presentation of the facts," Glickel said.
Harrington said he looks forward to the report's findings.
It could be several months before a decision is rendered by Ponzini, which could coincide with the November election in which Sullivan is running as a Democrat against Hoehmann, a Republican.