Court dismisses charges against town employee

EMPLOYEE

Criminal charges against volunteer firefighter and DPW employee Chris Colasacco, right, were dismissed in town court, provided he submit a satisfactory letter of apology to Harrison Police Lt. Edward Lucas and pay a $125 fine. File photo

By DANIEL OFFNER

After sending members of the Harrison Police Department on a wild goose chase in July, town employee Christopher Colasacco returned to court this week to answer charges he made a false report to police of an erratic driver in downtown Harrison.

On Aug. 27, Harrison Town Justice Hon. Marc Lust dismissed the criminal charges against Colasacco on the condition he submits a letter of apology to Harrison police Lt. Edward Lucas for his conduct while on duty and pay a fine of $125, plus surcharge.

Colasacco was initially charged with a Class A misdemeanor offense—which carries the maximum penalty of a year in prison—by Harrison police after the incident on July 26 had police searching downtown Harrison for the alleged reckless driver.

“The police department expended a lot of manpower on this,” said Town Assistant District Attorney Ada Diana Hedayati.

According to Hedayati, the police department agreed to reducing the Class A misdemeanor charge to disorderly conduct provided the apology is sufficient. She added that the two orders of protection, for individuals who had given testimony against Colasacco, will remain in effect for the next two years.

Since 2004, Colasacco has worked as a full-time employee with the town’s Department of Public Works Highway Division and is a contract member of the Teamsters Union 456. In recent years, he has also served as a volunteer fire captain with the downtown Harrison Fire Department.

After reports of his arrest surfaced in Harrison Town Hall, Colasacco received a 15-day suspension without pay. Because the disciplinary actions from the town fall beneath a 30-day period, the decision was left to the department supervisor—DPW Commissioner Tony Robinson—provided he receive the executive approval of Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican.

Both Robinson and Belmont declined to comment on the matter.

Although the commissioner could neither confirm nor deny any plans for further disciplinary actions, Colasacco, as a contracted union member, has the right to hire counsel and have a hearing officer oversee any disciplinary proceedings, should they arise.