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politics

Firing Violated Law, Sullivan Lawsuit Against Clarkstown Says

Former Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan has sued the town for violating the law.
Former Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan has sued the town for violating the law. Photo Credit: Michael Sullivan Facebook
Attorney Richard Glickel
Attorney Richard Glickel Photo Credit: Linkedin
George Hoehmann
George Hoehmann Photo Credit: submitted by Hoehmann

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. --  Michael Sullivan might not be the Clarkstown Police Chief anymore, but the slugfest between the former chief and Supervisor George Hoehmann is far from over.

Sullivan recently filed a lawsuit that says Hoehmann and the Town Board broke the law when they voted to fire him in September.

"Mr. Hoehmann broke the law to fire Mike Sullivan," said Sullivan's attorney, Richard Glickel. "A lot of good people live in Clarkstown; they have seen how unfairly Mike was treated and on November 7 they will come out and 'fire' Mr. Hoehmann."

The suit seeks to annul the town board's determination which resulted from an unlawful vote, i.e., Hoehmann cast the deciding vote, Glickel said.

"Without the supervisor’s vote, the board’s vote was 2-2. Without a majority vote to convict, (in this case 3-1) the charges are not sustained and that means not guilty on the charges," he added.

Hoehmann on the other hand, who is running against Sullivan in November to retain his seat, said he, and the police department, have moved on.

“I was elected to end the culture of corruption in Town Government and voted to do exactly what the people elected me to do," said Hoehmann. "Mr. Sullivan was found guilty of serious abuses of power and the misuse of police resources, and a judge has already denied his request to be reinstated. Our Town has moved on. Our Police Department has moved on. Our people have moved on. It’s sad Mr. Sullivan cannot.”

But Sullivan and Glickel say they only need to point to the Rockland County Police Act, the town law and lots of case law that says that the person who prefers the charges cannot review the record and cannot vote, to prove the basis of the suit.

Plus, a person who testified at the hearing cannot participate since that would mean determining one’s own credibility as a witness, which is also prohibited.

Both of the town’s lawyers – William Harrington and Vincent Toomey – acknowledged in federal and state court that Hoehmann was disqualified from voting, Glickel stated.

The Police Act also states that if there’s a determination of guilt, then the officer must receive five-days’ notice and an opportunity to be heard, the suit states.

"There was no notice and simultaneous to their (town board) vote to find Mike guilty, they terminated his employment. no notice, no five-days’, no opportunity to be heard. So Hoehmann broke the law to fire Mike Sullivan," Glickel added.

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