LB Resident Calls for City Manager’s Removal

Drama came during this Tuesday evening’s Election 2011 debate, not from the candidates’ responses, but when Long Beach resident Jay Gusler hand-delivered this letter to City Council President Thomas Sofield Junior, and Council Members Goodman and Torres.

In his letter (given to this blog, Newsday, the Long Beach Herald, and Long Beach Patch), Mr. Gusler makes a demand of the City Council for the suspension and subsequent removal of City Manger Charles Theofan, by arguing Mr. Theofan has violated his oath of office.

What’s at issue here is something SBC began discussing on Monday; Mr. Theofan’s violation of a provision of the Taylor Law.  Mr. Gusler explains that violation in his letter, and also documents that Mr. Theofan has been found guilty of violating a provision of the  NYS Civil Service Law in addition.  That decision was posted here.

Mr. Gusler goes on to say that,“Mr. Theofan’s guilt in connection with these violations is not in dispute. Though it was their right to do so, the City has not appealed either ruling, thus conferring upon these decisions “final” status.”

Then, Mr. Gusler reminds the City Council of the oath of office and quotes a specific section related to general powers and duties of city officers. (Note: The City Code is available here)

It shall be his duty to see that the laws of his state and the local laws, ordinances and by-laws passed by the council are faithfully executed within the city. 

Throughout this letter, Mr. Gusler makes the comparison between Mr. Theofan’s situation and that of former Civil Service Commissioner Leary Wade.  Wade’s case is a complicated one, and I’ll leave it to the Long Beach Herald to get you up to speed here and here.  From my reading of Mr. Wade’s situation, he was removed from office because of an oath of office violation related to pleading guilty to illegally renting two basement apartments.  The amended allegations are available here.

Mr. Gusler’s argues, “the violations that Mr. Theofan has been found guilty of are of a far more substantial character than those relied upon to justify the Civil Service Commissioner’s removal.”

His argument continues that because of Mr. Theofan’s “guilt,” the City Council is “compelled to agree that these violations of the law require Mr. Theofan’s removal from office.”

Finally, he concludes by again quoting the City Code, and asking “that the Council place on the agenda for the November 1, 2011, City Council meeting a resolution immediately suspending Mr. Theofan from the performance of the duties of the position of City Manager pending the required steps to effectuate his permanent removal from office.”

The City Manager is an appointed position that serves at the pleasure of the City Council, with a majority vote being required (3 out 5) for his appointment or removal.  It will be interesting to see what steps the City Council’s members take – if any –  on this matter.  Residents are of course free to make any sort of demand they want as is was well documented during the last City Council Meeting’s Good and Welfare Session.  The question is really what the members of the City Council make of Mr. Gusler’s telling of the tale.  If there are any developments related to this in the coming days we will be sure to update.

Mr. Gusler’s full 3-page letter is available here.

Jay Gusler is a Lieutenant in Long Beach’s Professional Fire Department and a member of the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters Local 287.  He is writing in his capacity as a private citizen and is in no way speaking for the Long Beach Fire Department or the union of which he is a part of.

Please read the terms of service before you comment.

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45 thoughts on “LB Resident Calls for City Manager’s Removal”

  1. Just read the decision from the link above and am not seeing the big deal here? This type of stuff happens all the time outside of the “union world” and its perfectly fine. It allows for the growth and development of more junior staff memebers and even tests them to see how they could perform if given the job. I encourage evenyone to actually read the legal write up before you comment.

  2. By all means please provide the second document you reference in you letter so SBC can link to it and we can read it.

    As for the case that is linked to in the article, I still think that this is one of those situations where we have a little too much “law”. We are a nation of laws but it has been proven time and time again that not all laws are fair and just. Just because someone got a law past it does not mean that the law should stay as is for perpetuity or was even correct from it inception. But this is the overly litigious society we live in.

    My point is that the violation in question, outside of the union laws, would not be considered a major offense. Again this is my opinion. Perhaps an admonishment of Mr. Theofan would be in order if this case was not appealed, but his removal for this specific item is questionable.

  3. Jay, I never said it was okay to violate the law. And you are right that if a law is seen as unjust that it should be lobbied to be removed or revised. My comments were strictly related to the text of the document I read and not in relation to my broader opinion of the Taylor Law, which I have not read or the other case (until I read it).

  4. Is it the practice of the City Council to cherry pick who gets removed and who stays without any conistency of standards?

    YES! City Council President who gets his father as Police Commissioner? SOME Council Members needing to file FOIA requests to get documents on issues they are supposed to vote on and others not!

    Can some of the lawyers reading this blog weigh in? What is the appropriate channel to complain about this? State Attorney General?

  5. I’m not a fan of unions BUT he did endanger the lives of fire fighters because they were supervised by someone without training.

    By the way… does this apply to the LBPD as well? I’ve heard that Police Chief Sofield is technically acting-Commissioner, for what 6 years now? I wonder what they are side-stepping by having him remain acting and not in full capacity — could it be he is not qualified but was appointed by his son… maybe!

  6. Sure Jay, I’ll translate. Angelo is saying, in flawless Italian, that the only hope for Long Beach is to remove Mr. Theofan from office. He says that if that cannot be done through the judicial system that everyone should vote for the dems across the board. He also invited all posters to his home for Sunday dinner starting at 2:00 p.m. He promises that no one will leave unsatisfied. The others who are posting in Italian in response to Angelo are praising his genius and thanking him for the invitation. One of them also indicated that City Hall his being run by monkeys, to which Angelo concurred.

  7. Is that a good and welfare meeting? What is the best way to get on the list to speak? What time to you need to be there to sign up?

    Although a day late, do you think Mr. Theofan will dress up for Halloween at the council meeting? What kind of costume do you think he will wear?

  8. Can we also call for the resignation or removal of Fagan? He was arested for those Felony charges and it seems to be dragging along. Fraud and theft seem to be a good issue for removal. Can they be piggybacked together?

  9. I understand your point but I Googled the Newsday article on Fagan and it seems pretty black and white to me. This person was collecting unemployment while collecting a paycheck. I was on unemployment for most of last year and I had to log in and verify that I didn’t collect any money of any kind. I believe he should be taken out of office until the case is settled. If he’s found guilty or pleads it out he shouldn’t come back. He can keep postponing until his term is up. I believe his goose is the same as Theofans. With me the jury is still out whether Theo should be totally out. I spoke to a lawyer friend who says that one is criminal and the other is civil. Big difference he says. Also that this is very common in labor law.

  10. Keep in mind that Theofan has also perpetrated a fraud: impersonating a city manager. Ka ching. Ha ha ha ha I just cracked myself up.

    Not so funny? Gee whiz.

    How about this one:

    Three guys – a rabbi, a priest and Theofan are standing in line at a Long Beach bagel shop. The rabbi orders – “I’ll have a plain bagel with a shmear.” The priest orders – I’ll have a sesame bagel with a shmear of veggie cream cheese. The rabbi and priest then smile at one another and chuckle. The countergirl turns to Theofan who has a constipated look on his face and asks him, “Can I help you sir?” Theofan, dripping in persperation says, “I’m not ordering, can I please use your restroom? I am the city manager and I oversee the police that you give free food and coffee to everyday.” The countergirl glances at the rabbi and priest and then turns back to Theofan and says, “Sorry, out of order. All clogged up.” A dejected Theofan waddles out of the bagel store. The rabbi, priest and counter girl look at each other and the priest, gesturing towards a departing Theofan calls out, “Schmuck.” They all start laughing.

    Moral of the story: How ever you shmear it, we need a new city manager.

  11. A minor building violation Jay. So I take it’s ok with you to break the law because it’s only a minor one. Don’t you own a construction business? How many times have you broken the law by not getting permits? Have you ever rented out an illegal apartment? And I guess having an illegal apartment in the basement of a house in non-habitable space where FIREMAN and Civilians could get killed isn’t a good reason for Mr. Wade to be dismissed from his position. I guess if there was a fire in one of his houses and you were killed your family wouldn’t sue him because he only broke a minor law? Damn those glass buses again!

  12. It doesn’t matter what I believe. I’m not the one forming the argument. I am just commenting on your argument. But I noticed you didn’t answer any of my questions. You skirted them just like you blast others for doing.

  13. That’s right mr. lber. whatchoo got to say to that. Charlie Freeport gots to go. He a law breakin fool and he a puppet to the coalition bigwigs. time to put that pension generating fool out to pasture.

  14. State officials said that the City Manager Charles Theofan has ordered that the debris be relocated in a “site to be determined” in Point Lookout. When asked if the City had a permit to do this he laughed uncontrollably and, with drool forming on the sides of his lips, he said, “Not to worry, there is no lookout in Point Lookout. They will eat our waste and ask for seconds.” >> this typifies this man’s attitude towards the law!

  15. This new development is not surprising at all. In fact, as despicable as he is, Theofan is probably relieved by this news. He looks like his about to have a heart attack. With some time off, some diet and Zumba classes he could easily get a job as a male escort or dance instructor at Arthur Murray’s.

    The question is, though, who has the coalition decided will replace him? The job qualifications must include being a bottom feeder who has experience selling out to the highest bidder. It would have to be someone who is ethically challenged, has sociopathic tendencies and would not be averse to accepting an envelope. It would probably someone that would be presentable to the public, which is not a tough feat considering what is there now.

    I don’t want to venture a guess here, except to say that there is at least one person in the current administration who is probably ripe for the picking and at least one more who has been active in LB politics who would meet at least some of these qualifications. Both have been successful at fooling people either through charisma or fronting as if they are “stand up” guys. But, in the final analysis, they are no different than Charlie Freeport except for the fact that they actually reside in LB.

  16. Rumor is that if the Dems get in Spiritis will be back. That’s all the CSEA had to hear and they gave their endorsment to the Coalition. Union was told that he will privatize lots of City functions. He was a loser last time he was in the City Manager spot and is hated by most that know him. Only guy that was worse was Bruce Nyman !!

  17. Spiritis is happily retired. He will never return to serve the city. Nevertheless, forcing him out was the Coalition’s biggest mistake. Spiritis and Nyman? Apples and oranges. The former: a city planning pro who did a marvelous job in Hempstead and in Long Beach before that in the early 80’s; the latter: a pure amateur at running a city, and a stooge, he soon discovered. If the dems ran on a platform of appointing Spiritis the dems would have my vote hands down. Now it is only being used as a scare tactic against those who fear a strong independent city manager. Look at what is in that office now, for God’s sake! Could it be worse than that? Almost eight years of that enemy of the people of Long Beach with a Napolean complex to boot and not one ounce of class. That is what the Coalition gave to us. Get rid of them and hope for the best.

  18. Let’s set the record straigth, Spiritis left Long Beach in the 80’s under a cloud. The then administration was thrilled to get him out of town. As far as Hempstead is concerned he was there pulling down pulling down over $ 200,000 a year for 16 about 16 years. Have you been there lately? Hempstead is dump if that is his showpiece then his career is a zero. The guy is an egomaniac and a bully nobody can work for him. He has a vendetta against LOng Beach and its employees and his short stint here under the Coilition was disaster. By the way his able body assistant in Hempstead and Long Beach was no other than Clarles Theofan. They were thick as fleas until glen got the boot and Charles took the job. As far as comparing him to Nyman that was just to point out that they were both BAD.

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