The Man Who Would Be Supervisor.

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“Oh wow; Oh wow; Oh wow!
This Is The Man Who Would Be Supervisor?”

The suspended Police Chief of Clarkstown, who earns more that the police commissioner of NY City and more that the Director of the FBI, and under whose watch the Clarkstown Police Department had $10,000 PER DAY in overtime costs, has now dipped his badge into several interesting pools: the town’s budget, the problem with eruvim destroying public education, illegal construction at the Palisades Mall, and his personal existential search for “inspiring last words” and the loss of a lawsuit.

Here are some of his musings on these four topics ….

THE TOWN”S BUDGET
Sullivan …. “As we start preparing for the 2018 budget it is vital that we make an honest assessment of where our Town stands financially. This is the only way to properly and responsibly prepare the budget. I agree that the cost of living is way too high here in Clarkstown and we cannot afford tax increases. But we cannot afford fake budgets and pushing off expenses to the future either. These are the same kind of budgetary gimmicks that almost drove Rockland County into bankruptcy. A financial mess that we are still paying for today. My record is clear. In the Clarkstown Police Department we were able to reduce expenses by millions of dollars while improving efficiency and increasing services to the public. It was done by cutting waste, improving the organizational structure and chain of command, aggressive alternative funding, and appropriate shared services with other departments and municipalities. It was not done by paying outside “efficiency experts” exorbitant amounts of money to come in and do political hatchet jobs on our own people. It just required honesty and common sense.

Stephen Cole-Hatchard

Stephen Cole-Hatchard

This is the man who dug in his heels against having his department objectively reviewed by an outside audit firm. He then publicly attacked the credibility of the Town Board’s choice for the outside consultant while privately pushing for one of his own liking. Before the report even came out, he took steps to discredit it. When recommendations were made for cost savings, he cried that the cuts were a great threat to public safety.

Not long after that cry, Sullivan was under suspension for ignoring an order to deal with Police Sergeants Cole-Hatchard’s ‘discredits’. An amicable deal was quickly and easily worked out between the Town Board and the PBA, in which both sides expressed a mutual appreciation for achieving cost savings without jeopardizing public safety.

Former Supervisor Gromack

Former Supervisor Gromack

Sullivan is the person who publicly described a man as his “mentor” who years before had called the Police Department’s costs “obscene“. That “mentor”, former Supervisor Gromack, did nothing to control those costs. Sullivan’s “mentor” speech to Gromack as Gromack chaired his final Town Board meeting appeared to be heartfelt and sincere. However, Sullivan later testified he didn’t actually mean what he said that evening and was just being nice to the outgoing supervisor.

Back in 2009 when Sullivan’s ‘mentor’ was just beginning his term of office Chief Peter T. Noonan was not thrilled to discuss police pay to a reporter of The NY Times. The reason? Probably because in 2008, Chief Noonan made $332,529.88. He was not even the highest paid: one of his two captains at the time earned $335,676 while working two days a week because of a disability and spending three days a week undergoing physical therapy. The other captain earned $311,369. The 50 highest-earning Clarkstown employees in 2008 were all members of the then 173-member Police Department, with those 50 earning roughly $10 million, or about $200,000 each on average.

“I inherited these obscene salaries, and I’ve been attempting to turn them around and bring some reality and sanity to the salary structure of our police,” Mr. Gromack said eight years ago.

Well Gromack didn’t turn them around and the minority party board members, Hoehmann included, supported him when the final budget approval votes took place. However, seven years later the newly elected Supervisor Hoehmann performed a cost analysis of most of the Town’s departments, including the police department, and entered into an agreement with the PBA to reduce costs by several millions of dollars with no layoffs of any police personnel. The Town of Clarkstown is scheduled this year to enter negotiations with the PBA to establish a new multi-year contract that will be fair to the police and fair to the Town’s taxpayers.

So much for Sullivan’s claim that he reduced costs under the Gromack administration and “it was not done by paying outside efficiency experts exorbitant amounts of money to come in and do political hatchet jobs on our own people. It just required honesty and common sense”.

Sullivan is the man who didn’t have the “common sense” not to disobey a direct order from his civilian chain of command to return the infamous Clarkstown Police Sergeant Stephen Cole-Hatchard to desk duties from the County Strategic Intelligence Unit located in Pearl River. While Head of that unit, Cole-Hatchard ordered a junior Clarkstown Police Officer to monitor the Facebook page ‘Clarkstown: What They Don’t Want You To Know‘ because of a post ironically titled ‘How Much Should It Take To Run A Police Department?

The names of several Clarkstown citizens who liked the post (check them out – the names are still attached to the post) were also forwarded to Sergeant Cole-Hatchard for his review. Cole-Hatchard, while employed by the same Clarkstown residents that he monitored, erased his government issued cellphone and subsequently removed the hard drive from his computer after it was ordered to be seized. Cole-Hatchard professionally erased over 11,000 documents belonging to the Town. He returned the blank hard drive in a sealed bag, retired, and rode off into the sunset with his six figure pension intact.

D.A. Zugibe

D.A. Zugibe

To date, nothing has been done by District Attorney Zugibe to address Cole-Hatchard’s actions, nor has Zugibe recused himself from any potential investigation because of his past business relationship with Cole-Hatchard.

In the post that Cole-Hatchard’s Strategic Intelligence Unit found so disturbing that the civil rights of several Clarkstown citizens were probably violated, we quoted from the NY Times mentioned above and other articles writing:  “All ten of the Mid-Hudson region’s highest-paid local government employees were Ramapo or Clarkstown police. In 2014 Bill Bratton was sworn in as New York City’s top cop to oversee a force of 34,500. His salary was $208,286. The third, fourth and fifth highest paid employees in our region are all senior officers in the Clarkstown Police Department …. Chief Sullivan $272,037, Captain Mahon $270,753, Captain Ovchinnikoff $260,190. All three are paid more than New York City’s top cop Bratton. The police chief of Clarkstown has a salary 30% higher than Bratton, yet manages a police department that is 0.5% the size of the police force supervised by Bratton. Overtime in Clarkstown runs at over $3 million per year or approximately $10,000 PER DAY. Clarkstown’s Taxpayers are paying $802,980 per year for the three top officers to manage a police Department of just 163 officers. Add to that an additional cost of 35% for their fringe benefits and one can see why Clarkstown is in danger of going belly up. This is fiscal madness and Clarkstown’s taxpayers are footing the bill with loss of their property values through their property taxes.”

ERUVIM AND THE DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Let us now move on to Sullivan’s latest non-pronouncement as to whether or not eruvim being put up in Clarkstown and Upper Saddle River by residents of Ramapo might bring long term damage to the public school systems in areas so enclosed and in which those who are placing the enclosures do not live. Last week the citizens of Upper Saddle River and Mahwah were in uproar about this matter.

The intrepid Sullivan offered the following insipidness which reveals that on this issue he is unprepared and unwilling to lead at all in Clarkstown …. There has been a great deal of discussion regarding eruv’s (sic). I have to admit that until recently I had never heard of them. Last week I examined a few along North Little Tor Road and found what I believe to be the white piping on the utility poles. To be honest I have passed these same eruv’s (sic) numerous times and never noticed them before being told what to look for. If they are religious symbols they are not very overt. I am not an expert on religious symbols and do not expect to become one in the next couple of months. With an important election coming up there are many other topics that need to be discussed as well, and I am perfectly content to let the courts work this one out if necessary.

An Eruv

An Eruv (plural Eruvim)

That is an amazing admission from the suspended police chief. He is still being paid approximately $275,000 per year yet he is wandering the streets of Clarkstown seeking to be elected as the Town’s supervisor by trying to find something on utility poles that he had never heard of? On finally observing what he believes are eruvim he commented that “if they are religious symbols they are not very overt“.

The political course Sullivan has apparently decided to take concerning the spreading eruvim is that of ‘political ostrich‘ – he will ignore the wires upon which the blackbirds like to perch and instead he will concentrate on other matters “that need to be discussed“. One such matter according to Sullivan is his suggestion to render financial relief to the owners of the Palisades Mall.

ILLEGAL CONSTRUCTION AT PALISADES MALL
Guess what? The developers of the Palisades mall did what some residents do when they desire to encircle others within the comfort zone of their eruv – they built a structure that was not authorized, not approved, and not known to the Town Board of Clarkstown. They thought they would get away with it as all such encirclers do. When they were called out on the matter they made an unbreakable agreement and then later sued the Town of Clarkstown to break it and use the illegal construction.

Sullivan writes: I am formally calling on the Town of Clarkstown to settle the lawsuit initiated by Pyramid and allow the mall to develop the vacant space above Lord & Taylor. We’ve been down this road before and lost a costly tax cert case that resulted in high legal fees and millions in tax refunds. Pyramid is attempting to utilize existing space, which will result in higher tax revenue for Clarkstown. Allowing Pyramid to rent this space increases the tax revenue. The more money coming in, the lower the burden on the taxpayer. Our tax burden decreases when we focus on economic development and business retention. Make no mistake, Clarkstown is likely to lose this case. Instead of running up legal bills, the Town should settle with Pyramid

That is an nonsensical proposal for the following reasons:

The illegal space in question should have been torn down when it was first discovered. However, because the Town of Clarkstown was gracious and the Pyramid developers agreed to enter into a binding covenant that their illegally constructed space would never be developed without a referendum approved by the Town of Clarkstown’s citizens, it was permitted to remain as an unfinished shell. Covenants will always be upheld by the courts and Pyramid will lose their lawsuit. The fate of that expansion rests solely with the voters residing in the Town of Clarkstown and they are unlikely to change their minds for the following reasons ….

Ninety-four percent (94%) of the tax revenues from the Palisades Mall goes directly to the bloc-controlled County Legislature – only a total 6% of revenues generated by the mall is distributed to the five town governments which split that 6% proportionally between them. Clarkstown gets a fraction of that 6%.

Remember when the mall was first proposed it was to be the savior of the Town of Clarkstown’s school system’s budgets? Later the mall decided it was paying too much in taxes and so it went to court and obtained a judgement that required the Clarkstown School System to pay back $15 million and the Town of Clarkstown $5 million. Under ‘mentor’ Gromack’s administration the Town’s reserve fund was so low it could not pay the money out of current cash. Sullivan’s ‘mentor’ had to bond the $5 million and today Clarkstown’s taxpayers are paying back the Mall owners the full amount with interest. Today, the Clarkstown’s school budgets are in fiscal crisis as you will find when you open up your school tax bill for the coming year.

Sain Building in Downtown New City

Sain Building in Downtown New City

Why then would the taxpayers of the Town of Clarkstown accept Sullivan’s inane proposal that would require them to pay for additional policing and other costly services in an expanded mall using an illegally constructed space when the majority of the revenues from the illegal construction would go to the county legislature? That is the same legislature is controlled by Ramapo bloc-supported Democrats who declared the county does NOT need $4.5 million from the sale of the decrepit Sain Building AND the Town of Clarkstown can NOT have half a million in annual property taxes from redevelopment of the property on which the Sain Building stands?

So much for suspended Chief’s “honest assessment” of the budget for the police department. So much for his ‘assessment’ of the need for further tax revenues from the Palisades Mall. So much for his concern over the admitted destruction that comes about when neighborhoods are encircled with wires by the Hasidic sects and the public schools are subsequently destroyed as admitted by the non-anti-Semitic Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.

But let us end on a high note given that the suspended Sullivan has been looking for “inspiring last words” even from hoaxers ….

INSPIRING LAST WORDS AND LOSS OF A LAWSUIT
Sullivan …. “I must apologize. I just put up what I thought were the inspiring last words of Steve Jobs. I have been informed by Jilly Bean that this is not the case and the quote is a hoax. That is too bad because I still think the words were inspiring, but lets face it they lose a little of their meaning when falsely advertised. If anyone is interested in the quote you can find it under “Steve Jobs Last Words.” 

Steve Jobs Founder of Apple Company

Steve Jobs Founder of Apple Company

For the record, according to Steve Jobs’ sister, the Apple founder’s last words were, “Oh wow; Oh wow; Oh wow.”  That leaves us with one thing more to say about the suspended police chief whose actions with respect to Cole-Hatchard led to his present suspension. The actions of Cole-Hatchard in monitoring ‘We The People‘ resulted in a lawsuit against both Sullivan and the Town of Clarkstown that the Town’s insurance company found to be indefensible and settled immediately for $300,000.

On Facebook the suspended chief decided to explain why “Clarkstown” had nothing to do with surveillance of ‘We The People’ ….. He wrote: Clarkstown had no business being involved with this (the surveillance of ‘We The People’). And we were not! This was a County unit that did a job for the Haverstraw police department. Clarkstown had nothing to do with it. That is why it is so strange that neither the County or Haverstraw were involved in this lawsuit. Also, ‘We The People’ were never investigated, they were looked into using publicly available records. This was also during the very height of tensions between the police and minority communities. Their report was simple, this group poses no threat to public safety. There were many other groups and individuals that the Strategic Intelligence Unit did this for as well, not just We The People and Black Lives Matter. To this day there is no one who can point to any damage that was done to anyone. No one’s rights were violated, nobody’s freedom of speech or right to assemble were interfered with in anyway. If you would like to read the transcripts of my hearing regarding these matters I would be happy to provide them, however they are lengthy.

The only problem with this explanation is that the head of the Strategic Intelligence Unit, Stephen Cole-Hatchard, was a Clarkstown Police Sergeant being paid by Clarkstown’s taxpayers as a member of the Clarkstown Police Department and the Chief of Police of the Clarkstown Poliece Department at the time was the suspended Sullivan.

Further, as to the claim that “no ones’ rights were violated“, a $300,000 payment to numerous individuals by the insurance company of the Town of Clarkstown on behalf of the taxpayers of the Town and on behalf of Chief Sullivan makes a compelling case that says exactly the opposite.

All that we can now say is: “Oh wow; Oh wow; Oh wow, is this the man who would be supervisor?”

About Michael N. Hull

Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

About the Author
Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

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