“Any training authorized by the city, he did,” said Dunn. “The city made a budget decision that they couldn’t afford that training in that particular year.”
Dunn has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court seeking to have the charges dismissed as invalid under state civil service law. The suit also seeks Rea’s reinstatement as assistant chief and back pay to March 2012. Dunn said that the demand for back pay was based on civil service law which sets the maximum period for an unpaid suspension at 30 days. If any of the charges make it past the state Supreme Court review, Dunn said his client is prepared to refute them at a formal disciplinary hearing.
But Gallo said he believes the case against Rea will survive both state Supreme Court and any future disciplinary hearing. According to Gallo, Rea’s handling of his time and attendance constitutes a “continuing fraud” which makes the disciplinary charges exempt from the 18-month limit. Gallo also contends that Rea “abandoned his job” when he failed to appear at City Hall when summoned to discuss the allegations. Gallo, an attorney who once represented city unions, added that Rea’s latest lawsuit contains arguments which directly contradict previous statements contained in the suit he filed seeking a disciplinary hearing.
“The bottom line is, he put his own people in harm’s way,” said Gallo. “To do that, there’s something wrong with you, there really is.”