Lawyers for fired human resources director David A. Fabrizio and for the city have submitted their final briefs to State Supreme Court and they are awaiting a judge's ruling on Fabrizio's claim that he was denied his rights as a veteran by being dismissed without a hearing.
City lawyers denied that Fabrizio had any rights to a hearing and contended that he has not proven that his military service met the criteria to make him eligible for veteran status.
Fabrizio's lawyer, Richard G. Collins, countered that the city had not proven that Fabrizio is not an eligible veteran and submitted affidavits from the members of the Civil Service Commission backing his claim that he was entitled to formal notice of the charges against him and an opportunity for a hearing before he could be fired.
Fabrizio brought a lawsuit against the city claiming he was illegally fired on June 1 by City Administrator Anthony J. Restaino. Supreme Court Justice Norman E. Joslin ordered an evidentiary hearing to establish whether the human resource director's position carried protection under state Civil Service Law or if he held substantial independent authority and served at the pleasure of the city administrator with virtually no job security.
Acting Corporation Counsel Timothy G. Bax argued that Fabrizio served at the pleasure of the city administrator and that he could be fired by Restaino without cause. The city claims Fabrizio operated as a "independent officer," which would negate the veteran's benefits if Fabrizio were entitled to them. But, in his submission to the court, Bax also maintained that Fabrizio failed to prove that his veteran's status met the eligibility standards to entitle him to the benefits.
He said Civil Service Law requires that Fabrizio must establish that he served as a member of the armed forces on a full-time active duty basis during time of war and was released under honorable circumstances.
Collins countered that the city "speculates" that Fabrizio could not be considered an eligible veteran because he served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. But, Collins said Fabrizio also served on active duty in the Marine Corps.
Bax also objected to affidavits submitted by Josephine Tavano, John Fiori Sr. and Willie C. Fields Sr., members of the city's Municipal Civil Service Commission, on behalf of Fabrizio. The identical affidavits contend that the director of human resources position was not the same as the previous director of personnel position in that the human resources director did not possess the power to hire and fire employees. All three concurred with Fabrizio's contention that he was entitled to a hearing before he could be terminated.
Bax said the affidavits were "incorrect, inaccurate and misleading."