While the reason for the suspension is yet a mystery but what is known is that Sullivan recently butted heads with the town board regarding has publicly stated that a firm hired to study the $50 million Clarkstown Police Department. Sullivan claimed the firm to be too inexperienced for the task of finding financial savings in his PD, adding to tensions between himself and Supervisor George Hoehmann and the town board. Hoehmann and a 4-1 GOP majority had been swept into office in 2015.
Sullivan told the public he had been excluded from the selection process for the auditors that would evaluate the department. The Bonadio Group that was eventually selected for the study is to be paid up to $98,500.
As the department accounts for 34 percent of the town’s budget, Hoehmann felt that the evaluation would be worth the potential savings. Sullivan’s reaction to the study reinforced Hoehmann’s sentiments that a study was needed.
Hoehmann’s chief of staff, Vincent Balascio, told local media that the largely Republican Town Board decided to suspend Sullivan although he will continue to be paid until charges can be drawn up. As stated in LoHud, Balascio said, “We are barred from talking about anything under the law, other than to say he’s been suspended.”
Former Clarkstown Police Chief William Collins said he was surprised to hear of Sullivan’s suspension. Collins served as chief for 11 years and considered Sullivan a loyal and dependable officer and was not aware of what might have led to the suspension.
“He’s certainly not the kind person who would be insubordinate,” Collins said in an interview with local media. “He’s always respectful. He’s a real good cop and one of the best supervisors we had as a line officer.”
Sullivan has been an officer in the department for more than 32 years and has served as chief for five years. Town officials said the reason for the suspension will not be revealed publicly due to administrative rules. The town has 35 days to bring its case against Sullivan.
Hoehmann’s Chief of Staff Vincent Balascio said, “Following a unanimous decision by the town board, Chief Michael Sullivan has been suspended. While the town cannot comment on ongoing investigations and personnel matters, we take disciplinary matters very seriously.”