Republican and Democratic nominees for first selectman in this fall's election said challenging a court decision forcing the promotion of a policeman to captain will hurt public safety and cost more than legal fees.
First Selectman Jim Lash intends to seek an appeal of the verdict in the case of Lt. Gary Honulik if attorneys cannot reach a settlement in the case.
Two weeks ago, State Superior Court Judge Michael Shay ordered Honulik to be promoted, and slammed the town for illegally manipulating its hiring policies to deny the 34-year veteran a promotion to captain in 2003.
The ruling also directed that Capt. Michael Pacewicz, the man promoted instead of Honulik, be returned to his former rank, with Shay ruling that Pacewicz was promoted illegally.
The appeal would negatively affect the police force by extending a block on promoting senior police commanders, worsening a leadership void and threatening public safety, Republican nominee Peter Tesei and Democratic nominee, Frank Farricker said.
'I think the situation is a very sad saga for the individuals involved, the Greenwich Police Department, the town, and I don't think we should exhaust further resources appealing the decision,' said Tesei, chairman of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. 'We need to move forward.'
Farricker, a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission, said the appeal would be another in a line of ill-chosen battles, part of a wider pattern of the town aimlessly taking cases to trial when settlement would appear wiser, and alienating employees by disregarding town policies.
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Source: Stamford Advocate
Publication Date: September 24, 2007
Reporter: Martin B. Cassidy