SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
Police Officers take an oath to protect and serve. Here in Mount Vernon that has taken on a different meaning. One officer in particular has taken that oath to a whole new level. Police Officer Neil Rosenberg has been busy serving himself a healthy helping of overtime. It appears Officer Rosenberg's belly is never full. His greedy appetite can cost the taxpayers of Mount Vernon over $ 200K per year. Does Mayor Young know of this activity? Where is Commissioner Chong? Has any red flags gone off? Where is the Inspector General?
Mount Vernon Exposed recently began an investigation into the nefarious activities of Officer Rosenberg after receiving a complaint on alleged misconduct on his behalf. In the complaint, it is alleged that Officer Rosenberg has privileges that are not afforded to other police officers of the same rank. He allegedly has supervisor computer access codes that he uses to illegally schedule his overtime months in advance. This scheme has rewarded Officer Rosenberg quite handsomely. He is the highest paid official in the City of Mount Vernon. The salary of the Mayor is $143,000 and the salary of the Comptroller is $128,000. One has to wonder how a police officer without supervisory ranks does, get away with this unlawful activity. It is believed although not verified, that the bosses at the MVPD know of Officers Rosenberg’s behavior.
The Complainant alleges that Rosenberg serves as the watchdog and is known as “the good ole boy” in the Mount Vernon Police Department. While working at the front desk Rosenberg is on the front lines when it comes to dealing with the public. There are a substantial amount of citizens from Mount Vernon and communities beyond that file civilian complaints against Mount Vernon Police Officers. Rosenberg is given the task to make things as difficult as he can when these individuals come in to file a complaint. It is virtually impossible to make an anonymous complaint as individuals are asked for photo identification before they are even a complaint form to fill out. All complaints are then recorded into a log manual. Those individuals that are strong and brave enough to endure the harsh and sometimes abusive questioning of Officer Rosenberg fill out the form and turn it in. Allegedly, Rosenberg’s job is to then make sure that the complaint never makes it to Internal Affairs and into the Officers personnel file. If these allegation due prove to be true, Officer Rosenberg should be fired immediately and charged with theft of services and obstruction of governmental justice.
Freedom of Information
Mount Vernon exposed has begun an investigation into these allegations. We tried to foil the civilian complaints of several police officers whose names keep registering on complaints to us here at Mount Vernon Exposed. These officers are Sgt. Podzus, Lt. Hunce, and sgt. Marcucilli. Sgt. Marcucilli is currently the center of an excessive use of probe. It is alleged that Sgt. Podzus has the highest number of civilian complaints on file, something that he allegedly brags about. It is speculated, although not confirmed that he has called his fellow officers racial slurs and those actions on his behalf have led those officers to file complaints against him as well. Subsequently, the victims have filed a civil rights lawsuit against Marcucilli and the Mount Vernon Police Department. The City of Mount Vernon Law Department has denied our request to view these records. We were issued the following response in writing:
The Freedom of Information Law provides rights of access to records kept by public entities. However, there are records that are exempt from disclosure for several reasons. In particular, records that cannot be disclosed include those that are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute. The New York State Civil Rights Law §50-a(1) states in part that “all personnel records, used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion, under the control of any police agency…shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review…except as may be mandated by lawful court order.”
Mount Vernon Exposed does not agree with the decision of the City of Mount Vernon Law Department and we intend to challenge this in a court of law. We believe the following provision in the Mount Vernon City Charter provides public access to these records under the following:
§ 262. Books and papers to be public records. All books and papers and documents filed with or constituting a part of the records or proceedings of any officer, board or department of the City, shall be deemed to be public records and shall, during office hours, be open to public
If these records are not made public, how are taxpayers supposed to know that their tax dollars are being used to hire rogue police officers who violate civil rights? Has anyone been reprimanded as a result of a civilian complaint being filed, or do these complaints fall on deaf ears?
Abuse of overtime
Police officer Neil Rosenberg has through allegations of official misconduct, earned the title “Highest Paid Employee” in the City of Mount Vernon. Where is the Inspector General and isn’t he investigating this abuse of taxpayer dollars. This abuse should be of great concern to taxpayer as they will have to pay his pension for the rest of Rosenberg’s life. His pension is based on his last three years of performance. At tier 4 if Rosenberg were to retire today, assuming he is of proper age he would retire with a pension of 50% of his last 3 years pay. If he were to retire today at tier 1, assuming he was of proper age he would retire with 80% of his last 3 years pay. Through a Freedom of Information law request, Mount Vernon Exposed obtained detailed salary information for police officer Neil Rosenberg from 2002-present. The information that we obtained is appalling.
· Jan – Dec 2002
Annual Salary $61,368.47
· Jan – Dec 2003
Annual Salary $63,142.29
· Jan – Dec 2004
Annual Salary $63,196.23
· Jan – Dec 2005
Annual Salary $66,049.73
· Jan – Dec 2006
Annual Salary $67,627.60
· Jan – Dec 2007
Annual Salary $71,714.10
· Jan – Dec 2008
Annual Salary $73,762.98
· Jan – Aug 2009
Annual Salary $53,625.73
Findings of Fact
Official misconduct has no place in society. Police Officers take an oath to protect and serve. Upholding the constitution of the United States of America is the foremost responsibility of police office. Taxpayers should not also have to worry about police officers committing the same crimes that they arrest persons for on a daily basis for. The allegations contained herein pose serious threats to taxpayers and the effects will last a lifetime. It is recommended that corrective action be taken immediately to minimize the financial impact to taxpayers. There appears to be a systematic abuse of taxpayer funds and obstructing governmental justice. The City Council must implement legislation that allows the public at will to view records of police officers and other person currently exempted from the law. It is imperative that special investigator be appointed as “police are not capable of policing their own." It is our recommendation that this report be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further investigation as many of the allegations pertain to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico Act).