North Syracuse Police Chief Thomas Connelly isn’t at his desk for the time being, and Mayor John Heindorf is facing a workplace violence grievance.
Connelly is temporarily off duty after a disagreement with the mayor over an extermination bill escalated into a physical confrontation. Heindorf has asked for his resignation and has said that he will pursue a civil service disciplinary hearing to have him removed.
Connelly, in turn, filed a workplace violence grievance against Heindorf though the North Syracuse Police Benevolence Association.
At this point, nothing is official, Acting Chief Gary Barlow said.
“[The chief] hasn’t been notified of anything other than being screamed at by the mayor,” Barlow said. “I assume the mayor will present his case to the village board at their next meeting, and that’ll be a closed door meeting. I don’t think anything will come out.”
At a news conference Friday, Heindorf said the argument started over a $495 extermination bill for the village offices, including the police department headquarters. The mayor said Connelly slammed the door when he left his office, so Heindorf followed him out into the lobby, where the argument became more heated. The mayor said Connelly then pushed him to the ground.
“I did not in any way touch the police chief,” Heindorf said. “Subsequent to this I terminated his employment.”
Though Connelly has declined to comment on the situation, the North Syracuse PBA also held a press conference Friday afternoon and said Heindorf started the fight. In a statement, the PBA said the chief only acted in self-defense.
The village board’s next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 8 at the North Syracuse Community Center.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.