ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- In an unexpected move, the hearing officer in the disciplinary case against suspended Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan announced his recommendations in the town's case against the chief.
Robert Ponzini found Sullivan guilty on 11 of 15 charges including misconduct, insubordination, and incompetence and recommended the chief lose his job In the 32-page report released Tuesday.
Sullivan, who is running for town supervisor, said in a statement: "This should be of no surprise to anyone, I have always maintained that Mr. Ponzini was taking orders from the (George) Hoehmann administration from the beginning, said Sullivan. "Something that was quite obvious to those who attended the hearings. What does surprise me is the timing. I thought that they would wait until closer to the election to drop the long expected bomb."
In the report, Ponizni said his recommendation was based upon the hearing record, as well as Sullivan's entire work record.
Ponzini's recommendations are not final, they now go to the Town Board, which will vote to accept or reject them. To date, the board has not scheduled a date for the vote on the latest, or earlier recommendations.
In July, Ponzini issued a decision for the first round of disciplinary hearings against the chief, which dealt mostly with his police department cell phone. In that decision, Ponzini said the chief should be found guilty on several charges and suggested a 15-day suspension without pay.
Richard Glickel, Sullivan's attorney, said the decision was no surprise to him: “These proceedings were George Hoehmann’s only means to achieve an unjust and pre-determined end . . . the firing of Chief Michael Sullivan.”
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann also released a statement following the report's release saying: "We learned Hearing Officer Ponzini found Michael Sullivan guilty of abuse of power, multiple counts of misconduct and conducting illegal surveillance of Clarkstown citizens and perceived political enemies."
He added that he looked forward to the day when the case has been resolved and his administration could turn the page of this chapter in the town's history.
Sullivan, a Democrat, who will face Hoehmann, a Republican, in the November election, said he will continue to run his campaign in his own way, and "I will continue to fight the corruption and waste that has become our Town Government under this administration."
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