MANORVILLE, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Officer James Greco, a 17-year veteran of the Nassau County Department of Corrections, has been denied his retirement status by the Sheriff of Nassau County. Officer Greco was charged with Workers Compensation fraud which resulted in his wrongful termination, as per a ruling by the arbitrator hearing his case. Despite winning two judicial decrees in his favor against the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Greco continues to be denied his full retirement status.
In early 2011, a Workers Compensation Judge found Officer James Greco innocent of the erroneous charges by Nassau County that he was defrauding the Workers Compensation system. Subsequently, his termination as a Senior Corrections Officer in the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department was overturned by an arbitrator. It was concluded that Officer Greco be awarded a three-quarters disability retirement from the New York State retirement system, in addition to retroactive back pay.
Officer Greco had suffered a career-ending injury due to an assault in 2007 by an inmate. Initially the Sheriff’s Department’s own doctor deemed him injured and placed him on light duty status. Unfaltering, the Sheriff’s Department returned Greco to full duty post anyway, entirely aware that his performance would be less than capable. If Officer Greco had accepted this subjective and irrational decision, his safety and the safety of his fellow officers would be at risk.
After Greco refused to recognize the Department’s ploy to place him at a full duty post, he was suspended twice: once for a week; then again for two weeks; and was then ultimately terminated. After termination, Greco struggled to keep his house, where he lives with his wife and two young daughters. Pursuant to an arbitrator’s ruling, it was legally documented that the Sheriff’s Department did not adhere to its own policies and procedures, and that Greco was indeed, wrongfully terminated. Officer Greco should have been reinstated at his original title, but the Sheriff’s Department refused to do so, violating the arbitrator’s ruling that was two years in the making. Throughout this time, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department recklessly squandered thousands of tax payer’s dollars for needless legal fees.
Greco himself, spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees for almost four years, while attempting to prove his innocence. The family also faced losing their home several times however, at no time did Officer Greco accept any disbursement or settlement through the Worker’s Compensation Fund, other than for medical treatment. A neurologist’s diagnosis of Officer Greco’s injuries concluded that if another assault on him took place, the consequences could leave him a paraplegic.
While on active duty at the Nassau County Correctional Facility, Officer Greco became a staunch safety advocate for his fellow corrections officers and inmates alike. After discovering a proliferating and hazardous mold infestation in the correction facility, he promptly reported it to the Department. When no admission or action was taken by the Department, he reported it to OSHA. Following OSHA’s investigation and confirmation of the massive mold infestation, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department began to retaliate against Greco by way of discrimination and consistent persecution.
According to the Sheriff Officers Association Union Acting President, Brian Sullivan, this is not the only case where a corrections officer has been terminated and unjustifiably denied retirement status. According to Sullivan, other officers had also been advised by Union officials that nothing could be done about the Department’s prejudicial practices, which are common daily occurrences at the facility, and commented that the Sheriff’s Department “does what it wants.”
A female corrections officer at the same location was injured on the job in 2001. She was subsequently fired in 2004, but was legally awarded three-quarters retirement pay by New York State. To this day, she is still battling the “system” trying to receive her retirement status from the department. Brian Sullivan went on to say that Nassau County’s legal counsel for the Nassau County Correctional Center, Elizabeth Loconsolo, stated to him that “a retired Sheriff’s identification card is a badge of honor and that Officer Greco is not worthy of it.” Current Sheriff Sposato also commented to Sullivan that, “if Greco wants an I.D, tell him to come back to work.”
Officer Greco is adamant about not surrendering to defeat by an institution that governs itself and does not adhere to New York State legal decrees. He is determined to set a precedent, whatever it takes, so that future officers will not have to succumb to this unacceptable, bullying treatment.
Given the financial gaffe that Nassau County is presently in, does the Sheriff’s Department have carte blanche to frivolously spend tax payer’s money for attorney and court fees simply to feed their ego when losing a legal judgment? It is obvious that we have a corrupt and anarchistic regime operating clandestinely behind the walls of this correctional facility. Officer Greco is now returning to the front line yet one more time, to rightfully attain his retirement status.
Media coverage regarding the questionable behavior within the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department has been an ongoing endeavor by The New York Times and Newsday; however, it has been an effort in futility.
More information: Rachele 516.524.4833.