Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lawrence cop appeals six day suspension

Lawrence Township Police Officer Thomas C. Chianese, who is listed on Gannett's "DataUniverse" site as having been in public service for 20 years and having made $95,775 in 2007, appealed from a six days suspension imposed upon him in November 2008.

Chianese, who is the local PBA president, apparently used a piece of the department's letterhead to write a memo to the local PBA treasurer. When advised by superiors that this violated a previously issued directive from Police Chief Daniel A. Posluszny, Chianese allegedly remarked that "it was not a big deal." Chianese's alleged violation of the directive formed the basis for the suspension.

I have placed the Final Notice of Discipline on-line here.

Even though the incident occurred July 4, 2008, the appeal was filed with the State Department of Personnel in December 2008 and transferred to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) in early 2009. The OAL has assigned Docket No. CSV191-09 to the case, and, unless it settles, the matter will eventually be heard by an administrative judge, who will make a recommendation to the Department of Personnel affirming, modifying or reversing the discipline imposed.


I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project which seeks to increase governmental transparency and accountability, particularly at a local level.

As part of my work, I routinely check administrative Civil Service appeal dockets. Most often, the public does not get to see these records. I post them on-line for several reasons: a) because they sometimes reveal official wrongdoing by a government employee, b) because they sometimes suggest that a government agency is using the disciplinary process to retaliate (i.e. file trumped up charges) against an politically or otherwise unpopular employee and c) because these appeals and the underlying disciplinary charges cost public money and the taxpayers ought to be aware of how their money is being spent.

For more information on the Libertarian Party, click here. For similar postings on other government officials, see my blog.

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