Hearing on East Hampton Police Chief Held, But No Resolution - NBC Connecticut

Hearing on East Hampton Police Chief Held, But No Resolution



    Hearing on East Hampton Police Chief Held, But No Resolution

    Five hours of testimony inside East Hampton High School Monday included numerous snarky comments and the former town manager Jeffrey O'Keefe saying the sexual harassment allegations made against him are false.

    "I'll go on record now because I've been crucified in the media as a sexual deviant. The harassments never happened," O'Keefe said as part of his testimony.

    Residents and town officials convened on Monday night over the firing of the police chief. The hearing was held because Connecticut state law requires a town prove it is justified in dismissing a police chief.

    Police Chief Matthew Reimondo maintains he was fired in June for investigating the sexual harassment allegations against O'Keefe, who later resigned as town manager amid the controversy.

    O'Keefe testified that he fired the chief as part of his plan to "right size" the police department to save money.

    "I'll call it wrong sizing," Reimondo responded during his testimony.

    "I think the people have been eager to hear since June 22 what is going on. The people want to know the true story," Reimondo said before the hearing began.

    An attorney representing the town began by simply submitting the ordinance change passed by the Town Council last week that eliminates the position of police chief all together as its justification.

    "I'm very surprised they don't have any other defense though, because that's a pretty weak defense," said John Wright of East Hampton.

    The heated hearing lasted nearly five hours, with plenty of objections on both sides.

    In another small town twist, the hearing officer who will decide this case is the interim town manager named in O'Keefe's absence, former public works director Bob Drewry.

    But many of the dozens who packed the auditorium said the people will have the ultimate say.

    A grassroots group called Take Back Our Town is circulating a petition that, with enough signatures, would allow residents to vote on whether East Hampton should have a police chief.

    "I can assure you, with great confidence, we will have signatures to bring it to a referendum," petition organizer Bill Marshall said.

    The signatures are due by Oct. 21 for the issue to go to a vote.

    Meanwhile, interim town manager, Bob Drewry, said he would review the testimony from the hearing and issue a written ruling "as soon as humanly possible."

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