On Sunday, March 28, 2010, I received several phone calls at home asking me if it were true, that I was not going to be commissioner anymore. Puzzled, I asked about the origin of these rumors. Apparently, the day before, at the Reliance Engine Company’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, the village board told a number of people that I was not going to be re-appointed as commissioner on April 5. I am thankful for having so many concerned friends who cared enough to contact me. I only wish the village board had been professional enough to discuss this matter with me before letting it out to the public.
The next day, Monday evening, I had a brief meeting with two board members who thanked me for all the wonderful things I had done, but informed me that I would not be re-appointed as commissioner. Maintaining my professionalism, I asked to have their decision in writing. The week went by, then around 7 p.m. Friday evening, after I went home, an envelope was dropped off at the police desk. Not even the courtesy of a personal visit.
After 34 years in the Police Department, 17 of those years as commissioner, and an envelope is dropped off after business hours to inform me that in three days, I would not be re-appointed as police commissioner. Not a thought, a care, or concern, in fact, not even a single word from the board about how this abrupt, traumatic career change would affect me, my family, the Police Department, or the Floral Park community. It is extremely unsettling that a group of such unqualified part-timers are authorized to make such dramatic decisions.
In 2003 the village paid a specialist to conduct a Police Management Analysis/Patrol Deployment Survey and this year the board hired a consulting firm to conduct a Comprehensive Audit of the Police Department. In both cases the Police Department came through with excellent reviews. As my dad would say, “we’re in good shape.” I’ve done nothing wrong. And speaking of dad, look at the board’s timing with all this.
I have been told that a new commissioner has been selected. The village board decided not to utilize the talent, knowledge, and experience from within the department. Instead, they continue to insult and demoralize the members of this department by offering the position to an outsider, a retiree from the New York City Police Department. Their decision pushes me back to lieutenant, either that or retire. So, I will be joining the other two lieutenants and the board will add another salary to the budget. A different position, yes. But, I will still walk down any street, head held high, proud of and building on my 34 years of service and dedication to the Floral Park community.