The Town of Tonawanda has fired two paramedics suspected of taking medication from the drug deposit container at Police Headquarters.
The terminations of Jon Cinelli and Jeremy Pecoraro followed a hearing conducted Thursday morning by Police Chief Jerome C. Uschold III that their attorney claims violated the paramedics' due process rights under the town's collective bargaining agreement with its employees.
Attorney Paul Weiss said the men weren't given sufficient opportunity to review and answer the disciplinary charges brought against them, and the town is required to place the men on paid suspension before a hearing officer or arbitrator makes the final termination decision. Weiss said he plans to file a grievance over the town's actions.
"They're absolutely wrong on this and we'll be fighting it," he said.
Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger said the town's attorneys assure him the town followed proper procedures. "The town is not responsible for the actions these two individuals took last week," he said. "They are, and they alone."
Cinelli, 52, and Pecoraro, 40, had been on paid leave since Monday.
Pecoraro also is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as petit larceny and a violation under state public health law. Cinelli wasn't charged but remains under investigation.
Cinelli was suspected, police said previously, after officials observed him violating regulations that require two paramedics empty the drug bin. An investigation then implicated Pecoraro, police said.