Theofan: “Gusler’s suggestion is mean spirited, misguided and downright ridiculous”

City Manager Charles Theofan has sent me his response to the allegations made by resident Jay Gusler.  Below is Mr. Theofan’s letter in full:

Re: Gusler Letter To City Council

I am once again compelled to write to set the record straight, this time with regard to Mr. Gusler’s letter to the City Council calling for my termination. Let’s start with his motives. Mr. Gusler is a lieutenant in our paid fire department. At present he is the subject of six (6) pending disciplinary proceedings. His request to the Council is in retaliation for my role in bringing and prosecuting the disciplinary proceedings against him. He is also positioning himself to claim that he is being retaliated against in the event that he is fined, demoted or terminated. He also has a federal civil rights law suit, where acting as his own attorney; in it he sued the City of Long Beach, The Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department, the Long Beach Police Department, and the following individuals, in their official and individual capacities: Charles Theofan, Garret Rooney, Lisa Mulligan, Corey Klein, Robert Agostisi, Marco Passaro, John Gargan, Scott Kemins, Stephen Fraser, John McLaughlin, Michael Gelberg and Timothy Radin. By naming members of the Corporation Counsel’s office we were forced to hire outside counsel paid for with public funds. I am absolutely confident that the complaint will eventually be dismissed. The ever litigious Mr. Gusler has also within the past year sued the Nassau County Civil Service Commission. That litigation was dismissed this past September.

Getting to the heart of Mr. Gusler’s allegations, he seeks to equate my interpretation of a civil statute with an individual who rented out two uninhabitable basements, each for a $1,000 a month in direct violation of our Zoning Ordinance, which served as the basis for removing a former member of our Civil Service Commission. Let’s look at what I was found guilty of. On July 18, 2007 two members of our paid fire department, while on duty, anonymously perpetrated an unspeakable act of cruelty and harassment against a fellow firefighter and his fiancé. In the interest of their privacy I will not go into details, but it was a indefensible, despicable act. After many months of the perpetrators refusing to come forward, and no effort being made apologize for the incident, the victims hired an attorney, who drafted a Notice of Claim naming the City, and the firefighters union as defendants. At my urging, the attorney held off commencing litigation in the hope of reaching a settlement. I then wrote to all the firefighters expressing my disappointment with their union for not assisting in resolving the matter and I urged the membership to accept a monetary settlement to be paid by the perpetrators in lieu of any other disciplinary action. Luckily, they took my advice and were spared from litigation that would have pitted firefighter against firefighter. It would have been a very ugly situation that would have cost them more to defend than what it was settled for.

My indiscretion, if any, was attempting to save the paid firefighters from themselves by writing to them. Yes, that’s all, and for that, a man with six disciplinary proceeding pending against him asserts that I should summarily be dismissed by the City Council. Mr. Gusler’s suggestion is mean spirited, misguided and downright ridiculous, maybe he never heard the proverb about people living in glass houses not throwing stones.

Charles Theofan

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17 thoughts on “Theofan: “Gusler’s suggestion is mean spirited, misguided and downright ridiculous””

  1. Freeport Charlie writes: “…anonymously perpetrated an unspeakable act of cruelty and harassment …it was a indefensible, despicable act…” Sounds like he is talking about the feces smearing perpetrated against Democratic City Council candidate Scott Mandel private property. Who did Theofan assign, on the police force, to that case? And, did that same detective just write a letter to all of the LBPD to withdraw any support of democratic candidates for the Council? Inquiring minds want to know. A vote across the board for the dems is a vote to Dump Freeport Charlie.

  2. First of all these are not allegations, these are court decisions. Guilty Findings! And ok let’s assume the letter was written by the devil himself. What exactly is untrue about this letter? You did a good job attacking the author. Congrats to you. You then attempted to make the fire department look bad. Always a good move. You still have not addressed the issue! You were found guilty! Fact! Twice! How about this? Go for a walk. Settle down and then try to write something that actually resembles a legitimate response. This one fell flat on its face. The people actually want to know what went on here. Who cares who wrote the letter! Why does that matter? OK Bozo the clown wrote the letter. Please be the city manager we all hoped you would have been and respond to the facts!!!

  3. Mr Theofan, As a wife of a retired uniformed worker, I strongly agree with Mr Gussler in his opinion of how you treat unions in this city. Many years ago former city workers agreed to a new health plan that would make it cheaper for the City of Long Beach. In July 2010, you had one of your workers in Civil Service advise retired police and firemen that they would no longer be covered for their copays; not even giving them the decency or courtesy of a letter explaining why. When you cut this from retirees, you still kept the benefit for the current employees. My husband and many retirees have advanced in age and are accumulating more medical bills. It seems when you attempt to talk to council members, they claim ignorance. Retirees have sought legal representation; but it is cost prohibitive. A grievance was filed and you failed to give the courtesy of an answer. To the men who served this city long before you arrived, many of whom contributed their time and effort to volunteering and coaching and acting as scout leaders. Based on Mr. Gussler’s statement, maybe his request for your resignation is warranted.

  4. Freeport Charlie writes: “…mean spirited, misguided and downright ridiculous…”

    Brilliant! If he ever writes his memoirs that should be the title. He describes himself so well. Who knew he was so insightful?

  5. Let’s see if we can objectively analyze Jay’s latest rant:

    The last sentence of Theofan’s letter basically accuses Jay of being able to dish it out, and not being able to take it. Now look at Jay’s response. His first instict is to cite a section of the NY Civil Law to prevent Theofan from even defending himself. Is THAT your version of “free speech”, oh noble crusader? Why not let the man defend himself if everything you say is true? If you’re going to throw yourself in the realm of public discourse, Jay, then do yourself a favor and grow a thicker skin.

    Next, the section of law you cite is NOT designed to protect the “good names and reputations” of firefighters-behaving-badly. The statue is meant to shield cops’ and FFs’ personal information from abusive litigation (you may know something about that topic, yes?) Also, Theofan did not make any of your many disciplinary proceedings “subject to inspection or review.” He merely discussed them. Oh, and you forgot to cite the last part of the statute. You know, the part that says that the law does not apply to government agencies.

    With legal arguments like that, is it any surprise that Jay lost his case against the Nassau Civil Service Commission? By the way, Jay, that was not very nice of you to put forth misleading information regarding the status of your federal litigation. The bulk of Jay’s complaint has been DISMISSED. The individual claims against the people listed in Theofan’s letter (except those against Theofan, Passaro and Gargan) have all been DISMISSED. All that remains are his “back-up” claims. We’ll have to see what happens with those, but it’s not hard to guess.

    We will also see what happens with the disciplinary matters mentioned in Theofan’s letter. After seeing Jay’s bravado in these comments, I hope he has the courage to update the public if he’s found guilty of anything. But don’t count on it.

  6. Sounds like Mr Theofan has violated the oath of office! I have an idea!
    Maybe the same laws that apply to everyone else should be applied to him and he should step down!
    Am I the only one that sees this?
    Remember the Soviet Union, ruled with an iron fist, fear and intimidation.
    All comrades were equal, but some were more equal then others!

  7. Mr Theofan yesterday you answered a rebutal to Mr Gussler’s comments so you no doubt read this blog could i respectfully ask you to respond to my question.

  8. Wow, that’s some “objective” reply.

    All right Jay, for argument’s sake, let’s adopt your definition of the “glass houses” idiom: “people that are guilty of the same things should not draw attention to the guilt of others.” Haven’t you done just that in your email? You cast aspersions Theofan for (what you see as) his changing the topic away from the merits of your argument, and toward your disciplinary proceedings. Then, you inject a totally irrelevant side-issue re: Leary Wade’s race into this discussion. Tell us, wordsmith; what does Leary Wade’s race have to do with this conversation? Why are you bringing that up? Obviously, it’s to discredit Theofan and the Coalition. That’s precisely what you criticized Theofan for. You may sleep with Roget’s under your pillow, but no amount of diction conceals a flawed and illogical argument, like the one you’ve presented.

    NEXT, let’s get back to my rhetorical question for a moment: why exactly DID you feel the need to bring up Leary Wade’s race? What other reason could there be? Could it be the election? NO!!!! Couldn’t be. Here’s a tip for you Jay (free of charge): don’t be a race-baiter. It undermines your credibility and insults everyone’s intelligence. Obviously, Leary and the City had a falling out. I don’t know where fault lies, and I don’t care to speculate. But I’ll say this: to raise Leary’s race and political affiliation, without making mention of the FACT that the Coalition initially appointed Leary, is intellectually dishonest. Why would the Coalition (which, by the way, is comprised mainly of registered Dems) suddenly develop a problem with either his race or political party? Neither seemed to bother them when they initially appointed Leary. What’s more important to you, Jay? “Informing the public,” or smearing your enemies? Once again, “glass houses”….

    NEXT, while you see the injection of your disciplinary proceedings as an irrelevant side-issue, it is not. Theofan’s mention of those proceedings suggests a motive – a retaliatory motive – for your actions. Motives do count, Jay. Am I correct in assuming that you have argued in your federal case and disciplinary proceedings that the disciplinary measures taken against you are the City’s manner of retaliating against you? Hasn’t that been a recurring theme in all of your litigation against the last two administrations? Thought so. But now you have the audacity to criticize Theofan for using a variation of the same defense??? Glass houses my friend…

    Oh, and by the way, the “glass houses” idiom can be used in a number of ways. I am not disputing that your usage is proper, however, consider this definition from “Commonly misinterpreted as being a proverb warning against hypocrisy. This is incorrect.
    The actual meaning is closer to that of ‘if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.’” So now I must ask, Jay: “how do you like THEM apples”?

  9. Sounds like you two boys are working yourselves up for some hot oil rassling to sort this out. What say in front of City Hall at noon tomorrow. Youse can pick your color of trunks. Theofan will referee the match in a thong.

  10. Actually it sounds to me like Jay is a cry baby who was given cookies and now he wants milk. How much has Jay cost US the taxpayers in his frivolous lawsuits or otherwise pointless ranting and raving. Seems to me like Jay just wants to cause trouble and is no better better than the people he is fighting against. Just my point of view from reading everything he writes.

  11. My opinion of your letter is that you are creating your own battles and only make a bad situation worse. We all have a right to our opinion and mine is that you only make LB a worse place to live in. Your actions speak louder than your self riotous words and they make you look like a bad person. MY OPINION ONLY. But if I were a juror on any of your cases IDE make you pay a,l costs associated.

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  13. Let’s see….first I’m a party operative, then I’m a corp counsel. Maybe I’m Obama?!! What does it matter. Focus on my message, not my identity. I’ve purposely chosen not to reveal the latter, because I can see from this thread how you handle people that speak out against your position. Frankly, I’m not in the mood to deal with one of your lawsuits.

    Speaking of “speaking out,” I would seriously hate for anyone to think that I’m “attacking” your “writing” in general. Far from it. I support your right to speak your mind. What I don’t support is the flip-flopping, misinformation, and deception contained in your writings. For example, in that other thread, you expressed the curious view that Theofan’s violations far eclipsed Leary’s. In fact, here’s a quote from your letter to the City Council: “It is submitted that 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.” Then, Iber pointed out some of the dangers posed by uninhabitable basement dwellings, especially to FIREFIGHTERS. Suddenly, the “character” of the violations didn’t matter much to you anymore. It then became all about “a single standard to applying to all City officials.” Take a position and stick with it, or take a few moments to compose yourself before feverishly pounding at the keyboard.

    By the way, Iber’s point was better than any made by either of us during this exchange (I’m jealous).

    Now, I believe you asked me what was incorrect about your letter. It’s not so much about that “facts” anymore (since I brought them to light), but your reasoning. You told me that Leary’s removal was due to his race and party affiliation. I noted that Leary was a Dem when he was appointed by the Coalition. Presumably, the Coalition was also aware of his race at the time. I then questioned your logic because I cannot see how the Coalition could suddenly hate the characteristics that they were aware of when they hired him. Your response was as follows: “Theofan is white, Wade is black. Theofan is a Republican, Wade is a Democrat.” You don’t see the problem here, Jay? Really? You’re not allowing for ANY other explanation except race and affiliation. That’s like saying: “I can’t see what’s behind my closet door at night, so therefore the bogeyman must be hiding in there.” Couldn’t Leary’s ouster have been about the merits of the charges against him? Do you even allow for that possibility? Even if you don’t, wasn’t it more likely attributable to something, say, more mundane? I don’t have the answers for you, but I’m pretty confident that it wasn’t race or affiliation, for the LOGICAL reasons I’ve noted. You, on the other hand…your reasoning employs a leap of logic, and I believe you know it. But hey, damn the torpedoes, right? You’ve now admitted that you’re on a quest to oust Theofan, so why let a silly thing like logic get in your way.

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