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PBA not happy about Clarkstown chief suspension and asks for him to be reinstated

Chief Michael Sullivan had another strong turn out of support, this time over 200 members of the Clarkstown Police Benevolent Association(PBA) and Rockland PBA came to Clarkstown Town Hall to confront Supervisor George Hoehmann and request Hoehmann to reinstate Michael Sullivan to his police chief position while the hearing process plays out.

The 8 p.m. meeting concluded at just after 11 p.m. after 2 hours of public comment from law enforcement and residents who were very displeased with hearing process that started against the popular police chief two weeks ago.

Accusations of Westchester money associated with Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino influencing police chief suspension, and the upcoming hearing process were made by several commenters and met with loud applause.

Most speakers who confronted Supervisor George Hoehmann were given standing ovations by the crowd and when Supervisor Hoehmann went to address the concerns of the crowd and a large lot of people suddenly walked out in protest to the supervisor’s decision to suspend Chief Sullivan.

This is the third showing of support for Chief Sullivan, the first was a PBA rally outside town hall on July 26th, and the second was last week’s Rockland County Legislature meeting where a resolution to show support for Chief Sullivan failed to make it to the floor. Chief Sullivan has attended each PBA turn-out since his suspension.

Clarkstown resident Sandra Siegel said Michael Sullivan was a “role model and an inspiration.” Seigel asked if the suspension of the Clarkstown police chief was negatively effecting the community’s youth.

Rockland PBA president Chris Kiernan said he did believe the 7 charges against Chief Sullivan were weak and did not warrant a suspension. Kiernan believed  “a letter dropped in his file at most” would have been appropriate way to handle the matter.  Kiernan said he believed the suspension would was politically motivated and would result in termination.

“Why did you order a [police] chief’s exam just seven days after taking office, when you had a perfectly good chief sitting there?”

Kiernan said statements made by Clarkstown administration to the Journal News violated PBA agreement terms.  Kiernan asked the board to stop the road they were going down and reinstate Chief Sullivan as the hearing process plays out.

Many Clarkstown PBA members, including Clarkstown president Ray Laschet and police officer IT specialist Brian Gorsky (video above), made comment about the e-mail security. Laschet said chiefs in Spring Valley, Suffern, Orangetown, are telling entire police departments, along with Rockland County DA Zugibe, not to e-mail Clarkstown PD out of concern that civilians are reading the communications.  Hoehmann assured the communications were safer than ever, but there was no resolution on the matter.

Hoehmann stayed on message of being elected as Supervisor to reduce cost and reform budget.  Hoehmann also stated that there was a process in place for disciplinary matters, and it is the same process for every member of the police department. Clarkstown Police Department accounts for 34% percent of the town budget.

 

This first report incorrectly identified Rockland PBA president as Chris Tiernan.

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