Tag Archives: jay gusler

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

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.