Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update on Fire Department Investigation

There are 2 developments on the investigation into allegations involving the Fire Department and its leadership.

First, the New York State Comptroller's Office has announced that they will assist District Attorney Holley Carnright's office. Apparently, the Comptroller will conduct a full and complete audit and review of the entire department. Their assistance brought about the charges in the Police Department matter. Hopefully, their involvement will lead to closure either with the filing of charges or an acquittal of those involved.

Second, we now know more information about the nature of the allegations against former Chief Rea.

It seems the Daily Freeman made a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for records involving the investigation. The Freeman now reports, "In refusing to release Rea’s records, City Clerk Carly Williams said requested paperwork regarding the time Rea spent teaching at a firefighters’ training facility in Montour Falls was part of the investigation."

This means that part of the allegations against Mr. Rea involve whether Mr. Rea actually taught the course or may have been somewhere else instead. This is similar to the allegations and charges still pending against retired Police Officer Vandermark.

I urge all readers to continue to keep in mind that only allegations currently exist against members of the Fire Department. There are no charges formally filed, and all of the people that are the subject of these allegations are innocent until proven guilty.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Three to Nine

Former Detective Matthews pleaded guilty to 2 counts of Grand Larceny today. He was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in State Prison and ordered to pay over $200,000.00 in restitution. Since he claims to have no assets, the arrangement has been made for his pension to be tapped for payment of restitution.

This marks the end of a very sad era in Kingston's history. To see such a promising career come to such an ignominious end is sad. Do not get me wrong, justice has been done. Yet, I cannot help but lament at the career that could have been but for him surrendering to the temptations that go with having a position of supervisory authority.

The next big legal matter to come forward shall be the investigation into the Kingston Fire Department. Will there be indictments? Will there be other defendants? These are the questions that need to be answered over the next few months.

Perhaps the only positive in all of this is that Kingston's City Hall and its government are being overhauled and cleared of corruption. It is indeed long overdue. I would have liked to have been the Mayor leading the way, but I am happy to follow Mayor Gallo on this one, so long as the goal is accomplished.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Investigation Underway

Mayor Gallo has referred the entire Fire Department matter involving "time and attendance", as well as the issues of equipment use by the department to the District Attorney's Office. Meanwhile, former Chief Rea has been suspended without pay and retired Chief Salzmann has his pay and retirement benefits on hold.

I am told that computers and records were seized by the authorities from the Fire Department's Central Station and Chief's Office. I also hear tell of a "diary" which purportedly tells all regarding the "time and attendance" matter.

Over the next few weeks and months, this story will be fascinating to watch. As someone who has long called for investigations regarding city policy, I will be most interested in the outcome.

Finally, we must all remember that both Mr. Salzmann and Mr. Rea are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Richard T. Cahill Sr. 1932 - 2012

My father passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his family. He had turned 80 just a few days ago.

Dad was an incredible man. He gave up his dream of being a lawyer because his father took ill. Dad felt it was his responsibility to go to work and support the family. Any time I ever spoke of what he had done, he always said he did not think it was such a big deal. He usually said something like, "Of course I did. What kind of person wouldn't help their mother?"

Later, he was drafted, but received a hardship deferment. A few years later, when his Dad felt well enough to work, Dad decided that he should serve his country since he had been drafted. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for the next 4 years.

Dad returned to Kingston after his tour of duty. By then, his father had fallen ill again, so he found work and resumed his role as primary supporter of the family. He eventually met my mother and they were married in less than a year. Dad cared for my mother and his own mother in a way that taught me tremendously without him actually saying a word.

Dad never got the opportunity to pursue his dream of being a lawyer. Instead, he worked hard to provide for my mother, me, and my 2 sisters. He put us through college and gave us the opportunities he missed out on. Today, I am a successful attorney. I would not have been able to do so without Dad and my mother working so hard. I try to remember that in all that I do.

Over the past week, people have been very kind to my family and me. We appreciate the phone calls, e-mails, blog postings, Facebook messages, and people just saying hello on the street. It helped make a terrible time a little easier to bear.