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police & fire

Clarkstown's Sullivan Blasts Disciplinary Recommendation On Cell-Phone Use

Michael Sullivan Photo Credit: File
George Hoehmann Photo Credit: File photo

After being cleared of 16 of the first 19 charges brought against him Monday, both suspended Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan and his attorney expressed disappointed he wasn't cleared of three charges related to cell-phone used.

The hearing on the remaining 21 charges resumes Tuesday.

The town's hearing officer, Robert J. Ponzini, recommended that the chief be suspended for two weeks without pay.

“It is another sad day in Clarkstown," said Sullivan. "Robert Ponzini has recommended a determination that is neither substantiated nor legally sustainable.

"The rot that has seeped into our town’s political process continues to spread through the veins of our government, and will continue to do so as long as George Hoehmann retains the power to abuse his authority and the public trust.”

Sullivan was found guilty of deleting his cell phone records after he was suspended and for not taking the cellphone and computer of a sergeant who was under investigation even though he had been suspended for more than two months before Sgt. Stephen Cole-Hatchard deleted his phone and computer records, Sullivan's attorney, Richard Glickel, said.

"I have to say I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that he wasn't cleared of all 19 charges," said Glickel. "He did not break any department rules or any laws by deleting the information from his phone after he was suspended."

In fact, when he found out that the town officials were upset he had deleted his phone's contents as a police safety and privacy measure, Sullivan spent $5,000 of his own money to have the information retrieved.

The decision will now be sent to the Town Board, minus Supervisor George Hoehmann, who filed the complaint, to make the final decision on Sullivan's future.

Glickel said he expects the final hearing to last through Wednesday before wrapping up.

The attorney had said before that all of the charges were the result of Hoehmann coming into office gunning for the chief.

"Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and Chief Counsel William Harrington have failed to prove anything," he added.

The chief, who recently announced his intentions to run as a Democrat against Hoehmann in this November's election, has repeatedly denied all of the charges against him. He has been widely supported by other law enforcement departments and government agencies.

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