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[UPDATE] Police Officer’s Resignation Questioned By Public

Audit of Clarkstown Police Department overtime planned after officer resigns over four hours of “questionable” overtime.

 

an 11-year veteran of the department, resigned in January after four hours of November overtime was questioned. The resignation, recently made public, was discussed during the town board’s Tuesday night meeting and addressed by Police Chief Michael Sullivan. The chief said the situation was handled appropriately and thoroughly with a supervisory review, full internal affairs investigation, and the officer and PBA were notified and a full background check was conducted.

New City residents Frank Grandel and Tom Nimick asked to have an outside independent audit of overtime conducted. Nimick asked the board not to accept Sherwood’s resignation and said it seemed unlikely that an officer would resign over a single overtime discrepancy. He noted that Sherwood’s base salary in 2012 was $125,000 and he earned $81,000 in overtime.  

“Therefore I would like to ask the board if you would decline the retirement and instead request a full investigation to determine exactly what levels of abuse are involved,” said Nimick.

Sullivan maintained the personnel matter was handled appropriately. He outlined the steps of the investigation of the overtime discrepancy and noted that Sherwood, who was a member of the department’s Critical Response Team, was interviewed voluntarily with his attorney present. 

“He maintains that he is innocent,” said Sullivan. “He admits that the overtime was put in but it was a mistake and was not intended.”

The chief said the department handled the matter appropriately and even though it was a relatively small amount, several hundred dollars, the consequences were huge. He noted that Sherwood voluntarily reimbursed the department. 

“The problem was someone put in for something they didn’t deserve,” said Sullivan. “And the ethical standards of our police department require that we deal with it. The only ethical thing we could do was have the officer separate from the service.”

The town board voted to accept Sherwood’s resignation, which was retroactive to January 17.    

Sullivan said in response to the discovery of the questionable overtime, the department would conduct an audit of all overtime. Additionally a new system was put into place requiring officers to log into and out of a special computer program whenever they have court overtime. The computer is located near the desk sergeant.

“I’m confident this will be an isolated incident,” Sullivan said, noting he had heard “wild accusations” about police department overtime.

Editor's Note:  The article has been clarified to reflect that Tom Nimick requested the board not accept the resignation. Frank Grandel asked the board to authorize an external audit of all town departments. Nimick asked the board members to have an audit conducted of the police department. 

Watchdog February 08, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Cops salaries in Clarkstown are unconscionable but no politician wants to touch it.....like the third rail of Social Security at the Federal level. What I fail to comprehend is why there is not an outcry from senior citizens whose meager pensions are going to pay for INCREASES in pensions for $200,000 cops whose final salaries are rigged with the imprimatur of the Police Chief Sullivan. They are hurting Seniors but they seem to not care at all. A retired widow in my neighborhood had a blue tarp on her roof and paint peeling home while a cop down the street completed a $150,000 renovation and addition including a brick paver driveway where he parked his new Jeep Grand Cherokee and newer Caravan. AND THIS WIDOW HAD TO PAY A INCREASE IN TAXES WHICH WENT FOR PENSION BENEFITS OF THIS $200,000 COP. Does anyone in New City have a conscience? I really don't think so.
Tom Nimick February 09, 2013 at 07:32 PM
To the individual who chooses to hide behind the moniker "reason." There is a reason (no pun intended) that the conversation here has so much energy - it comes from frustration. Reasonable questions are asked of the Town Board and frequently get minimal answers if there is any answer at all. The Town Board never deliberates on serious issues such as this - at least not in public. In that regard the members of the Town Board are not fulfilling their responsibility to deliberate in public. You may ask why they are supposed to deliberate in public? - Because that is what the Open Meetings Law says that they should do. They are creating the perception of being unreasonable. I say "perception" because I do not know what they are thinking. They rarely deliberate in public. I find them generally reasonable when I speak to them inidividually, but I have no reason to be confident in their work as a group. So Patch has become a place where you and I can wrangle with significant issues. I think that it is good when citizens debate in an open forum. I agree with you that it is best if we identify ourselves since the members of the Town Board are known by their names. I will look forward to you stepping forward to identify yourself.
Tom Nimick February 09, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I wish to thank Robin Traum for clarifying that I asked that the resignation be declined. My thinking was that the individual officer should face an audit of all his claimed time before the investigation terminated. After Chief Sullivan spoke I felt more confident that the Police Department had already done a full investigation of Mr. Sherwood. I also called for the Town Board to set up an outside audit. My concern was not that there is necessarily greater abuse going on, but there is definitely a question of whether it might be going on. For the sake of the officers continuing to serve in the Department I think that it would be helpful to have the audit and settle the issue. I would encourage the PBA to request an audit for the sake of its members. I was very appreciative of Chief Sullivan's description of the deliberate pursuit of the issue when it surfaced and also of the measures taken internally to build assurance within the Department that ethical standards are being upheld. That is good leadership and I endorse it. For the reasons stated above I still think that an outside audit would be good for all concerned.
amy durbin February 10, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Apparently, the lieutenants of the CPD will be conducting the internal audit. I guess this means we will be paying them overtime to investigate whether or not there is any overtime fraud. Insane.
Ralph Sabatini March 10, 2013 at 07:54 PM
We need to support him for life because he was allowed to resign. Bringing him to court to get to the bottom of this coverup and finding him guilty and/or firing him takes him off the "dole".

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