EAST HAVEN, Conn. -- If apparent Mayor-elect Joseph Maturo Jr. ends up returning Police Chief Leonard Gallo to duty, Gallo must be recertified and will not immediately be able to wear a badge or carry a gun, Deputy of Director of Town Affairs Paul Hongo said Friday.
That's because Gallo's police certification lapsed in the 19 months since two-term Democratic Mayor April Capone put him on paid administrative leave, Hongo said.
Capone, who Maturo appears to have beaten Tuesday by 31 votes, put Gallo on ice in April 2010 following receipt of a letter detailing preliminary findings in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into allegations of profiling and mistreatment by some town police.
Both Gallo and Maturo, a Republican who previously was mayor from 1997 to 2007, quickly responded that no decisions have yet been made about whether or when Gallo might return.
"I haven't gotten that far yet," Maturo said Friday. "I've got to get through tomorrow first. A lot of people are assuming things. I'm not a winner yet -- I'm an undeclared or uncertified winner."
The recount begins at 10 this morning at the East Haven Senior Center.
"Gallo is not certified, so if anyone is thinking about bringing him back, the best they can do is put him in a position like we did with (Deputy Chief John) Mannion," who returned to policing years after he retired from the state police, said Hongo, Capone's top aide.
"You can't give him a gun. You can't give him a badge. You have to send him back to school," Hongo said.
Gallo confirmed that his police certification expired June 30, but said Hongo "doesn't know what he's talking about." The two or three courses he would need to take, he said, would likely only require a week or so. It "won't take the full 26 weeks of training."
"I can go back at any time," Gallo said.
Gallo added: "I want to make it perfectly clear that no one has approached me on anything. I'm sure that Mayor Maturo will take a judicious approach."
Maturo reiterated that he has yet to make a decision about Gallo, who he hired early in the first of his previous five terms.
If the recount confirms the result, Maturo would take office Nov. 19.
There also will be a recount today of votes in the Board of Finance race, where Republican Malene Asid appears to have beaten Democrat David Garamella by just six votes, 3,217 to 3,211, for the fifth and final available seat, said Republican Registrar of Voters Donna Norman.
The recount is unlikely to affect the first four finishers: Republican Ralph Vitale, Democrat Richard DePalma and Republicans Beth Purcell and Salvatore Maltese, who all outpolled Asid and Garamella.
Copyright 2011 - New Haven Register, Conn.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service