Prosecutors offered plea deals Wednesday morning to two men indicted on charges they led a bribery scheme while working as Islip Town officials to steer civil service positions to favored candidates.
John J. Carney, a former Islip Town public safety commissioner, and Michael A. Allen, who was an assistant chief fire marshal at the town, were indicted Sept. 13 on charges that in their official capacities, they coerced four individuals to pass up Islip Town fire marshal job offers in March so candidates lower on the civil service list would get the jobs, prosecutors have said.
Both men face four class-D felonies of third-degree bribe receiving, and 12 class-A misdemeanors — four counts of official misconduct and eight counts of second-degree coercion.
Carney, 54, and Allen, 41, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on their own recognizance on Sept. 13. Carney resigned a week before his indictment, citing health reasons. Allen was demoted to his previous title of Fire Marshal II and placed on administrative duty after the indictment, a town spokeswoman said.
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho, who is overseeing the case, on Wednesday met with Kevin Ward, a Suffolk County assistant district attorney with the special investigations bureau, along with Carney’s attorney, Stephen G. McCarthy Jr. of Manhattan, and Allen’s lawyer, James Pascarella of Mineola, in his chambers for a brief conference.
In court, Camacho instructed the defense attorneys to discuss the offers with their clients and to reach a decision by Jan. 17, when all parties are due back to his Central Islip courtroom for another conference. If a decision is not reached by then or the defendants reject the plea offers, “we will gear up for trial,” Camacho said.
Provisional employees were hired earlier this year over other Islip residents who took the civil service test and scored higher, Alan Schneider, the head of Suffolk County Civil Service, said when the two were indicted in September.
Schneider said Islip Town Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt had gone to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota with complaints she received that candidates who had scored higher on the test were threatened by Islip officials with code violations on their homes if they did not decline the jobs.
Pascarella previously denied the allegations and said the charges against his client are “politically motivated.”
Outside court Wednesday, Pascarella said: “I’m under an obligation to speak to my client about the offer. I’ll do that, and I can’t really comment too much further.”
McCarthy said the meeting in chambers was “productive” and that he and his client are “continuing to engage in the process.”
Ward referred comment to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Spota’s office. Clifford did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Ward, McCarthy and Pascarella all declined to publicly disclose the terms of the offer made in Camacho’s chambers.
The town declined to comment on the plea offers.
The felony charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of 2 1⁄3 to 7 years, prosecutors have said.