A township police officer — fired twice in the past three years — will get his job back again. An arbitrator recently ruled that Todd A. Macaluso, a 17-year police department veteran must be reinstated.
A township police officer — fired twice in the past three years — will get his job back again.
A recent arbitrator ruling found that township trustees did not have just cause to dismiss Todd A. Macaluso, a 17-year police department veteran, from the force last summer.
The ruling directs the township to reinstate Macaluso, provide him back pay due and to adjust his accrued seniority to make him whole for time he missed while not on duty.
When township officials fired Macaluso in August, they didn’t provide a specific reason. Instead, they issued this joint statement: “It is a personnel matter involving protected information.”
It’s now clear, however, they fired the officer because they believed he violated an alcohol rehabilitation agreement the two parties had entered into in 2010, according to information contained in arbitrator William C. Heekin’s written decision dated May 25.
The township’s attorney, Leslie Iams Kuntz, redacted medical information from the eight-page decision before releasing it. But this much is clear — the arbitrator noted the rehabilitation agreement did not include a “zero-tolerance” policy. Macaluso’s actions that prompted his firing were referred to by the arbitrator as “ill-advised,” but were not a violation.
Kuntz said she believes trustees plan to hire back Macaluso during their meeting tonight. Michael Piotrowski, attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police union, did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday.
Trustees previously fired Macaluso in 2008 when he and more than a dozen other law-enforcement officials were implicated in a test-cheating scandal. Records at the time showed he obtained answers to a certification test held at the Ohio Highway Patrol's Canton post.
The exam was required to operate alcohol breath-testing equipment. Following an appeal, an arbitrator ruled in 2009 that a then-39-year-old Macaluso should get back his job. Macaluso said he did have a cheat sheet, but didn't use it.