Ali RosenSep 6, 2017, 6:43 pmSep 7, 2017, 8:27 am

Clarkstown's hearing officer recommends firing suspended police chief

Michael Sullivan says the ruling means nothing

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The hearing officer who presided over suspended Police Chief Michael Sullivan's disciplinary hearings recommended the town board vote to fire him on Tuesday.

In compliance with the recommendation, Town Supervisor George Hoehman released a statement stating: "The people of Clarkstown must be able to have trust and confidence in those who represent them in government and serving them throughout our community. I look forward to the day when we can turn the page of this sad and unfortunate chapter in our town's history."

But Michael Sullivan says the hearing officer's ruling means nothing.

“The judge found me guilty and George Hoehmann came out and preemptively said I've been found guilty. I haven't been found guilty of anything, that’s number one,” Sullivan said. “The town board makes the determinations so I have not been found guilty of anything yet and if I am found guilty, it’s a personnel matter. It’s not criminal charges.”

In July 2016, the town board was suspicious of suspended Police Chief Michael Sullivan's behavior, so they offered him a severance package which he chose not to take and instead faced administrative charges.

He was immediately suspended with pay on numerous accusations of misconduct. The charges were departmental, not criminal, so his disciplinary hearings were held at town hall.

The hearing officer announced he found Sullivan guilty of several charges including disregarding direct orders from the town supervisor and town board members, improperly using police resources to investigate members of the public and using social media to post about an ongoing litigation.

“There’s no criminal charges involved in any of this. If there were then law enforcement would be investigating this case, not George Hoehmann,” Sullivan said.

He says his days as police chief are over and he's now focused on running for town supervisor, but his career shift is confusing some residents.

“How can I possibly vote for someone that's been up on these charges in the first place, these improprieties, now we want to go up a level and be supervisor-didn't make sense to me. But we'll see how it works out,” Montebello resident Rob Cramer said.

Sullivan says even if the town board votes to fire him, he doesn't think it would impact his campaign against George Hoehmann for town supervisor in 2018.

“…I'm not running because I got fired or because I need a job, I'm running because I see George Hoehmann as, frankly, a corrupt public official in my opinion that has taken this town in a very bad direction,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan says he hopes the town board makes a decision as soon as possible because the Clarkstown Police Department deserves a chief even if it isn't him.

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