Rockland County Legislators are calling upon Clarkstown Board to formally dismiss all charges leveled again Michael Sullivan and to immediately reinstate him as Clarkstown Police Chief. In a bipartisan action, Legislators voted 10-5 to adopt the resolution, which was first approved by the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee on August 30. Some Legislators noted that in the absence of a countywide police force, towns and villages coordinate efforts with the Rockland County Sheriff and District Attorney, so if there is an issue that roils one town, it also affects Rockland’s four other towns and multiple villages. A copy of the resolution will be sent to Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, the Town Board, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and police associations.
Yesterday, just a day after the Clarkstown board added an additional fifteen charges to the seven previously filed against him, suspended Clarkstown Chief of Police, Michael Sullivan brought a lawsuit against the town board claiming that since his election as Clarkstown Supervisor, George Hoehmann and board members Frank Borelli and John J. Noto have worked in concert to “publicly humiliate and marginalize” him. The suit claims Hoehmann and the board acting as a “non-existent board of police commissioners” is working to “usurp the powers invested” in him as chief executive officer of the Clarkstown Police Department and is designed to force his retirement from the department. Sullivan, a 33-year veteran with an unblemished career in law enforcement is in “excellent health”, enjoys his work, his community and hasn’t considered early retirement. The suit claims that as a permanent civil service appointee with no intention of retiring, the board has “embarked on a scheme to force (his) departure through charges of misconduct to justify his dismissal under the Rockland County Police Act.” In response to the suit, William Harrington, the special prosecutor representing the board stated, “Chief Sullivan’s state lawsuit has no merit. However, having commenced this proceeding, Chief Sullivan has finally, albeit unwittingly, allowed the public disclosure of the unconstitutional manner in which the Police Department has operated under his command.” There will be an initial hearing on the lawsuit Friday.
EklecCo NewCo LLC, the owners of the Palisades Mall in West Nyack (the 12th largest mall in America) is suing the town of Clarkstown to overturn a restriction on 250,000 square feet of space. The mall owners claim that they have tried for years to negotiate the restriction on the unused space with the Clarkstown Board to no avail. The Clarkstown Board is abiding by a 2002 public referendum that denied the expansion. In a statement the owners claim, “Our lawsuit seeks to invalidate an illegal and unconstitutional restrictive covenant that was improperly imposed two decades ago by the Town Board.” They are seeking legal fees and millions of dollars in damages.
Supervisor George Hoehmann just called The Morning Show and informed us that the fire at Germonds Village in Bardonia took place in the center complex. 6-8 fire departments were called to the scene at approximately 6:50 a.m. Two units on the second floor are completely destroyed by the blaze and two units sustained fire damaged. There are lower level units that have water damage from putting out the blaze. Hoehmann is reporting that several firefighters have sustained minor injuries. Route 304 in both directions is closed off from traffic. We will have more on this story and the cause of the blaze as more information is released.
“There is no place for hate,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day from the steps of the Rockland County Courthouse yesterday. Day and Human Rights commissioner Penny Jennings along with diverse group of community leaders led a rally to denounce hate crimes on the heels of two strong “fireworks” that appeared to have targeted two rabbis in New City this week. Alongside Day was New York Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Evan Bernstein who offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for the attacks. Bernstein stated, “We hope that the issuing of this reward will lead to the swift apprehension of those responsible for this potential hate crime.” If you have information you can contact the Clarkstown Police tip line: 845-639-6233.
Republican David Tubiolo who defeated Christine Peters in yesterday’s special election won the vacant seat on the Westchester County Legislature. Legislator Bernice Spreckman resigned in June after holding the position for twenty years.
The US Coast Guard is in Washington, D.C. working on a plan to establish 10 new anchorages along the Hudson River. US Senators Charles Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand believe the public has not been given ample opportunity to provide input. Commercial ports are being considered from Kingston to Yonkers that would allow commercial vessels and barges to anchor at designated sites. Presently there is only one designated area and vessels anchor at other sites for emergency use only. The comment period for the first stage of proposal process runs until September 7, the deadline for the Coast Guard to call for a public heard was June 30. Schumer and Gillibrand want the Coast Guard to work closer with local, state and federal agencies to study the impact on safety, economic impact, and the effects ports would have on the overall life of the river and surrounding communities. (Source: MidHudsonNews.com)
County Executive Ed Day said in a statement that Rockland County has filed its second quarter report to the state Comptroller, and has reduced spending $35.3M from the previous year – this is the largest year over year decrease in Rockland history. Day said that Rockland’s budget deficit dropped from $138M to $19M since he took office two years ago. The county has had three credit rating upgrades in two years of consecutive budget surpluses. However, amid this good financial news the report also shows Rockland is running a $1.2M deficit this year. Rockland Commissioner of Finance Stephen DeGroat said in the report to the Comptroller that, “The main driver of this shortfall is in the revenue category. There is a high possibility of a significant shortfall in the sale of real property of $4M due to the failure of the Legislature to pass the needed authorization to sell the Sain building.” DeGroat informed the Comptroller’s office that the County Executive Day has implemented austerity measures to protect the county’s treasury and assure credit rating agencies that Rockland remains in control of its finances.
The Rockland County Legislature has written a resolution calling on the Clarkstown Town Board to formally dismiss all charges leveled against Chief Sullivan when it meets Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at 11 Hempstead Road in New City. The resolution states that the charges brought against Sullivan “are highly questionable and political in nature”. Sullivan has publicly stated that he is innocent of all charges. Last week over a thousand residents and law enforcement officers gathered to declare their public support of the 33-year veteran of the force and calling for his reinstatement. The resolution, once approved, will be sent to Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and the Clarkstown Board and among other officials and law enforcement agencies.
For commuters all seven lanes were officially open this morning on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Then motorists found there were long delays as two tractor-trailers stalled on the bridge and there was debris from another truck. While those obstacles have been removed — drivers are still slowing to see some remnants of the red crane that collapsed over all lanes and closed the bridge last week.