Should New Rochelle Police Captain Serve As Lawyer for City?

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Should New Rochelle Police Captain Serve As Lawyer for City?

February 05, 2013 - 21:53

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- One of the justifications offered by Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll and City Manager Charles Strome for the proposed reorganization of the New Rochelle Police Department has been that Captain Joseph Schaller is a lawyer.

This argument raised more questions than it answers. The first question is precisely what sort of legal work Captain Schaller is doing for the City of New Rochelle. A second would why can't the City's lawyer do this work? A third is what sort of conflicts of interest might occur? Finally, why is his NRPD contact information would be listed in online legal directories?

Various legal directory web sites like Legal Help Mate and Avvo which list Joseph F. Schaller as an attorney. The address given is 475 North Ave in New Rochelle, the address of the New Rochelle Police Department. The telephone number listed is 914-654-2254, Captain Schaller's phone number at the NRPD Headquarters.

If an argument can be made that retaining Captain Schaller past age 62 is justified on the grounds that he doing legal work for the City of New Rochelle then taxpayers ought to know just what he is doing and why this work is not being done by the City's attorney, Kathleen Gill. Further, their ought to be a plan in place for the day Captain Schaller retires. Who will be doing the same legal work he is doing when he is gone?


Proposed New Rochelle Police Reorganization Would Stand Captain's Eligibility List on its Head

New Rochelle to Reorganize Police Department, Captains To Become Assistant Police Commissioners

Civil Service Watch: New Rochelle Civil Service Meeting - October 17, 2012

Reorganization of Police Department Memo - August 20, 2012

There are 2 Comments

Is it possible that Captain Schaller is practicing law during normal business hours while employed by the City of New Rochelle Police Department? The address of the Police Department and police telephone number being used on documents unrelated to police work appears to be questionable at best. Worst case would be doing private work while being compensated by the taxpayers of New Rochelle. Either case, it should be looked into by appropriate authorities. Start with checking the telephone records of his work number, including the fax. Captain Schaller's immediate supervisor, Deputy Commissioner Murphy should be able to resolve this matter very quickly.
PS: In reading the City Charter, I didn't see any exceptions to the mandatory age of retirement of 62.

Internal Affairs Cases*

Civilian Complaints
2010 2009 %Change

Force: 2 6 -67%
Abuse of Authority: 9 16 -44%
Discourtesy: 8 20 -60%
Ethnic Slur: 1 0 100%
Miscellaneous: 6 5 20%

Internal Affairs Cases: 26 47 -45%

*source: Page 28 of the NRPD 2010 Annual Report
City of New Rochelle Website – Police Department

One can see that the need for the change of positions in the “men’s club” in the police department is just a fabrication by the commissioner to keep the status quo by keeping his command staff in place while he continues to rip off the tax payers of New Rochelle until he retires.

Who really is to blame here is the elected officials who fail to direct the city manager to control his commissioner, who is taking this city for all he can. An example is the mayor. For the mayor not to question this, especially when he wants to become the County executive speaks volumes on his ability to manage the large staff that comes with that position. The mayor should ask why is appears that the city charter is being violated, as well as NYS law, with the captain being permitted to remain on past his retirement age.

How does the city manager permit him to sit for hours at a time for lunch with his minions? It is as though he is on vacation, just coasting out his last few years here. As for the captain doing legal work only places a spotlight on the legal department. Why does the city manager support such a bogus reason for changing the titles of the captains? Why can’t his legal department handle it?

This is a small example of the inability of the mayor, council and manager unable to carry out their duties in their respective positions. One can now see why the city is in the situation it is in.