Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP has secured another municipal victory with its representation of the Town of Smithtown in a successful effort to replace the leadership at the Town’s animal shelter due to serious safety concerns for shelter employees, the animals in their care, and the public.
On July 25, the Town Board voted to terminate shelter director Susan Hansen, accepting the recommendation of independent hearing officer James P. Clark. Clark reached his conclusions after a four-day disciplinary hearing this spring to address reported filthy conditions and disorganized management at the shelter, which had led to two charges of misconduct and five charges of incompetence against Hansen. CMM’s municipal liability practice group, led by Scott Middleton, Esq., aggressively represented the Town of Smithtown at the hearing, calling numerous witnesses to testify, cross-examining Hansen’s witnesses, and introducing exhibits that clearly illustrated the reasons for the Town’s deep concerns over Hansen’s leadership. The evidence pertained to Hansen’s failure to take corrective action with regard to an inoperative fire alarm, exposure of an employee to a volatile situation in violation of operational policy, and failure to maintain a clean and safe environment for the animals and employees, among other serious issues. CMM’s presentation of the evidence persuasively convinced Clark that while Hansen was “unquestionably a dedicated animal activist, [she] is not suited for the role of Director.”
Middleton said of the Board’s decision to terminate Hansen and seek new leadership at the shelter, “The Town takes safety extremely seriously – that of the public, Town employees, and the animals who reside at the shelter. This is the correct result to further the Town’s safety obligations to all parties involved.”