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.