The Commissioner of Civil Service has adopted both Civil Service Decisions. The penalty in the 1st Decision, for a DWI was a 120 day suspension plus a demotion. The 2nd set of charges lodged against Caraccio were for not returning to work after completing his 120 day suspension and being cleared by both the County doctor and his own doctor to return. The OAL Judge dismissed the 2nd set of charges against Caraccio and returned him to work. The Commission adopted both decisions but returned Caraccio to work effective January 2014 when he presented his clearance to the County. The County denied receiving the doctor's clearances and brought Caraccio up on numerous charges. The charges were dismissed with the OAL Judge finding Caraccio more credible than the County attorney.
The County filed 9 pages of “exceptions” asking the Commission to reverse the Judge’s decision dismissing the charges and to increase the penalty for the DWI to a termination. The Commission did not agree with the County and adopted both Judge’s decisions. The Commission kept the original penalty of a 120 day suspension and demotion for the DWI and dismissed the 2nd set of charges. As of this date, Caracchio is reinstated with seniority, back pay and attorney’s fees from January 2014.
Good Job Caraccio! Happy Holidays!
EdPDLaw Editorial Update
November 8, 2014
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS FOR CARACCHIO
Shortly after reporting that the 2nd set of charges against Caracchio were dismissed, the OAL upheld the 1st set of charges, the 120 day penalty and the demotion for the DWI. The good news is that Caracchio is still employed and the reinstatement stands on the dismissed charges. The bad news is he will be returned to work as a correction officer. Caraccio is appealing.
Hang in there Caraccio, demoted Sergeants end up in Work Release and that is a good position for your appeal, its not like you sexually assaulted someone.
Former PBA Vice President, Sgt. Thomas Carrachio is ordered back to work, as a Sergeant with back pay and attorneys fees as Hudson County crashes and burns once again, This Chapter of this story began on August 13, 2013 when Caraccio was arrested for DWI. As a result of that incident, Carracio was suspended 120 days and demoted to a correction officer. After completing his suspension in December, Carracio was sent for a Fitness for Duty Exam, which he passed and was told to get a note from his treating physician clearing him to return to duty. In early January, Caraccio obtained clearance from his treating physician to return to work and immediately emailed it to his attorney and County Legal Advisor, Kalimah Ahmad. However, in typical Hudson County fashion, months went by with no word from the County on when Caraccio could return to work.
In the meantime, the County had changed Caraccio's status in COSS from "suspended without pay" to "did not report". When Kalimah Ahmad realized that Caraccio had been cleared to return to work in January, on April 9th she returned him to duty. But County Counsel (my money is on Lou Rosen) had other ideas and drew up a 2nd set of charges on April 1, 2014.
Below are some of the highlights of Judge Barry E. Moscowitz' decision:
Kalimah Ahmad is the legal advisor to the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
Ahmad returned Caraccio to work on April 9, 2014, but County Counsel sought his removal before then, and drafted the Preliminary Notice of Disciplinary Action on April 1, 2014, without discussing it with Ahmad, or even making her aware of it.
Meanwhile, Ahmad had admitted during her cross-examination that she sometimes does not receive emails that are sent to her.
Although Caraccio has self-interest in preserving his job and preventing his removal, I detected no such self-interest in his testimony. I only sensed straightforward statements of fact. And in doing so, I found Caraccio to be a more credible witness than Ahmad.
In short, I FIND that Hudson County has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence any of the specifications contained in its Final Notice of Disciplinary Action.
Given my findings of fact and conclusions of law, I ORDER that this case against Caraccio be DISMISSED, that Caraccio be returned to his position of Sergeant and be awarded back pay from the effective date of his removal pending the outcome of the previous case against him; and that Caraccio be awarded full counsel fees and all costs related to this case.
Clearly, Kalimah Ahmad was made the patsy for County Counsel as they did not include her in the decision making then sent her into court to take the fall. The real story behind this Chapter is that Former Vice President Thomas Caraccio did an excellent job for the Superior Officer's Union and the County used this opportunity to retaliate against him to send a clear message to other Union Board members that they could be next. As always, the tax payers are paying for the bruised egos of County Counsel who will probably not abide by the Court's Order.
Congratulation SERGEANT Thomas Caraccio for standing up for your union membership all these years, and for yourself in this Chapter of your story. Good job!
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