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NAAP Press release & demands March 2011

Prison Reform

COOKING UP AN UNDERSHERIFF

Cooking Up An Undersheriff

There are instances when a public official's unconventional career arc demands scrutiny, and Michael Sposato's is one of them.

Mr. Sposato recently became Undersheriff of the Nassau County Correctional Facility after serving the previous couple of years as Chief of Staff to Sheriff Edward Reilly. He got that job after using his political connections to prop up Sheriff Reilly when he was under fire because of a blistering 2004 audit by the Nassau County Comptroller's Office.

Before that, Mr. Sposato was a cook in the county jail. Critics both inside and outside the Sheriff's Office say his political activities - including a donation of $2,125 to County Executive Tom Suozzi's failed bid for Governor last year - account for his remarkable rise in the agency. They also question how he could be given that position when Mr. Sposato declared bankruptcy a decade ago.

Among those who have protested is Ed Gavin, a retired Deputy Warden in the city Correction Department. He speaks from personal experience.

Mr. Gavin was in the city jail system at a time when three individuals with past bankruptcy filings reached the upper echelon of the agency. One, Tony Serra, was known for being politically wired until he wound up going to jail for misusing agency personnel to spruce up his home and campaign for then-Governor Pataki. A second, John Picciano, is reportedly now in Brazil because the legal weather here might be a bit sticky for him. The third was Bernie Kerik, who continues to be Exhibit A against elevating those whose qualifications seem dubious.

      Nassau affirmative action project

                                                                                                 Box 2033 Point lookout ny 11569-2033

                                                                                                                naaprj @optonline.net

                                                                                                                                                                516-457-9833

 

                   

                                                                 

IMMEDIATE DEMANDS

 

The immediate restoration of the Nassau Division of Corrections Board of Visitors and the appointment of community board members as specified in the Nassau County Charter. (2004)
 
The Acting Sheriff be immediately replaced with a professional law enforcement administrator with an extensive correctional law enforcement background on a temporary basis until a legitimate and non political search committee can design and propose a plan to establish the position of Sheriff as an elective office.
 
The Sheriff Department’s General Counsel currently assigned by the County Attorney’s Office be immediately removed from the Sheriff’s Department and reassigned to the County Attorney’s Office pending an investigation by the District Attorney into the General Counsel’ wrongful and illegal  obstruction of EEO complaints of bias and discrimination by Department employees and inmates.
 
The Nassau County Human Rights Commission schedule hearings and conduct a full and complete enquiry into the human and civil rights abuses and the denial of due process suffered by Sheriff  Department’s employees due to conflicts of interest by the Nassau County Attorney’s Office as they pertain to County EEO investigations.
 
The County Executive immediately direct the Sheriff Department’s Affirmative Action Unit to prepare, submit and implement practical goals and objectives for the coming year in compliance with the federal court’s consent decree
 
The Sheriff’s Department immediately cease and desist from discouraging and abusing visitors in violation of the NY Division of Corrections code; provide adequate, safe and humane accommodations for all visitors  including bi-lingual services and accommodation for special need visitors;
 
The Nassau County Civil Service Commission be directed to immediately schedule exams for bi-lingual officers and other employees to meet the needs of non English speaking inmates and visitors.
 
The immediate restoration of the Department’s public information and community relations unit
 
The Sheriff’s Department immediately comply with county, state and federal ADA laws as they pertain to employees, inmates and visitors.
 
The Acting Sheriff and General Counsel immediately cease and desist from all acts of retaliation and retribution against employees and inmates who  initiate complaints of discrimination and bias.
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SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS

 

Nassau County Sheriff Department Guardians

Nassau County Civil Liberties Union

NAACP Freeport Chapter

Grand Council of Guardians

Circulo de la Hispanidad

Nassau County MLK, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee

Pax Christi LBI

Nassau Inmate Advocacy Group

Nassau Affirmative Action Project

Long Island Juvenile Correction & Prison Fellowship

 

 

Nassau affirmative action project

                                                                                                 Box 2033 Point lookout ny 11569-2033

                                                                                                                naap@optonline.net

                                                                                                                                                516-457-9833      

March 18, 2011

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Pat Dellatto 516-587-0527

 

Rally to hold Acting Sheriff Sposato Accountable//demand for corrections center visitors’Review Board

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 Acting Sheriff michael sposato disobeys subpoenas //ordered to show cause at nassau county Supreme Court

                *************************

 

 

Nassau County Community organizations  rallyed at the Nassau County Supreme Court, Friday, March 18th at 9:30am to hold Acting Sheriff Sposato accountable.

 

Acting Sheriff Mike Sposato who heads up the Nassau County Corrections Center has evaded numerous subpoenas on the advice of his General Counsel Elizabeth Locosolo and the Nassau County Attorney’s Office. Acting Sheriff Michael Sposato is directed to show cause at the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola, Part 8, on March 18th, 2011, for his willful disobedience of a subpoena which directed him to appear and testify under oath before the New York State Labor Board in an unemployment complaint brought by Dr. Joseph Volker, former Nassau County Sheriff Department’s Affirmative Action Specialist.

 

Community organization representatives are to supporting Dr. Joseph Volker, who was wrongfully terminated last March from his position as Special Assistant to the Sheriff in charge of the Department’s Affirmative Action Unit.  Dr. Volker insists that he was fired for doing his job. Community Human & Civil Rights organizations, African American and Latino associations have taken up Dr. Volker’s cause to hold the Acting Sheriff and General Counsel accountable.

According to Pat Dellatto, a spokes person for the Nassau Affirmative Action Project, supporting organizations are demanding that County Executive Edward Mangano re-activate the Correction Center Visitors Review Board as specified in the Nassau County Charter.

 

The Affirmative Action Specialist position was imposed on the Sheriff’s Department by a Federal Court decree in response to a civil class action suit by the Sheriff Department Guardians in 1998. Dr. Volker over a two and a half year period documented the adverse illegal actions of the Department’s General Counsel and the County Attorney’s Office in marginalizing and nullifying the Federal Court’s Consent Decree and in interfering with and obstructing discrimination and bias complaints by officers and civilian employees in the Sheriff’s Department.

 

 “Acting Sheriff Sposato’s disregard of subpoenas has galvanized the effort to restore the Visitor’s Review Board,” Dr. Volker said, “He is not above the Law. Whatever the General Counsel is telling him, just like every other government official he is subject to the law!” Acting Sheriff Sposato, Dr. Volker’s direct supervisor until March of 2010 when he fired him, implemented retaliatory disciplinary charges that led to Dr. Volker’s termination.

 

The Nassau County Correctional Center Board of Visitors is cited in the December 2007 Nassau County Charter (see # 2004). The last Board members were assigned under County Executive Gulatto. Under County Executive Suozzi the Board was inactive. The purpose of this seven member committee is to oversee the Correctional Center. The Board’s broad powers include the investigation of inmate grievances, access to the Correctional Center’s records and data, and the right to develop and propose programs designed to improving inmate care, treatment, safety, rehabilitation, recreation, training and education. Board members appointed by the County Executive must be confirmed by the County legislature, which provides the opportunity for community participation and input.

 

The Sheriff Department Guardians has brought a class action suit against the Sheriff’s Department’s non–compliance with the Federal Consent Decree establishing Dr. Volker’s position. Acting Sheriff Sposato and General Counsel Loconsolo are directly responsible for the mismanagement, malfeasance and negligence that characterize the Nassau County Correctional Center. They have usurped the authority of the Deputy Sheriffs, Under sheriff and Commissioner having fired them or forced them to retire. There have been 4 recent suicides over the past year among inmates. When direct lines to the Nassau County Human Rights Commission that inmates previously used for complaints were discontinued. inmates had no recourse but to direct their complaints to a grievance officer who is currently facing charges that he required sexual favors from the complainants.

 

Dr. Volker joins with those in the community who are calling for the reactivation of the Nassau County Correctional Center Board of Visitors. “This is not political,” Dr. Volker said, “Tom Suozzi, the former County Executive, a Democrat, totally ignored the need for the Visitor’s Review Board”. County Executive Mangano seems to share the same lack of concern, he said. Other priorities include initiating the Affirmative Action Goals and Objectives Dr. Volker recommended for the Sheriff’s Department. “But time has convinced me we must go much further”, he said. “The responsibility and duty of the person who holds the position of Sheriff calls for an experienced competent professional corrections administrator who is not a politically appointee. The Nassau County Sheriff, as the highest law enforcement official needs to be responsible to the people, he or she needs to be elected!”

 

According to Pat Dellatto the Review Board would go along way in righting the wrongs that are so evident in the Department today. If nothing else its re-establishment would alert the Sheriff and the County Attorneys that they too are accountable.

 

SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS

 

Nassau County Sheriff Department Guardians

Nassau County Civil Liberties Union

NAACP Freeport Chapter

Grand Council of Guardians

Circulo de la Hispanidad

Nassau County MLK, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee

Pax Christi LBI

Nassau Inmate Advocacy Group

Nassau Affirmative Action Project

Long Island Juvenile Correction & Prison Fellowship

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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS