Former Islip Town Public Safety Commissioner John J. Carney, who resigned one week ago citing health reasons, was indicted Tuesday along with an assistant chief fire marshal on felony and misdemeanor charges.
The indictment charges that Carney and Michael A. Allen, in their official town capacities, coerced four individuals to pass up job offers from the Town of Islip so that the pair could reach candidates lower on the civil service list, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Kevin Ward said.
Carney and Allen were each charged with four D-class felonies of third-degree bribe receiving and 12 class A misdemeanors — four counts of official misconduct and eight counts of second-degree coercion — before State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in his Central Islip courtroom.
Carney, 54, and Allen, 41, who turned themselves in Tuesday morning, pleaded not guilty, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman to Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota. Neither defendant has a prior criminal record, Clifford said.
The felony charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of 2 1⁄3 to 7 years, if convicted, according to the district attorney’s office.
Outside of court, Carney’s attorney, James Pascarella of Mineola, said: “Mr. Carney is and has been a hardworking, dedicated public servant for years. We believe that these allegations are politically motivated and we’ll have our day in court and we’re confident he’ll be vindicated.”
Pascarella declined to comment further.
Allen’s attorney, Stephen G. McCarthy Jr. of Manhattan, declined to comment.
The indictment says that Carney and Allen acted in concert on or about two days in late March when they committed the alleged crimes.
Alan Schneider, the head of Suffolk County Civil Service, said he was “shocked” when he saw earlier this year that five provisional employees among 32 Islip residents who took the civil service test — were hired over others who scored higher.
“All the notations on the list indicated that the remaining 27 or 28 candidates had all either not showed up for the interview or turned the job down either during the interview or after,” Schneider said Tuesday.
Schneider said that Spota began his investigation soon after being contacted by Islip Town Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, who reported complaints that centered on alleged threats that Islip officials had made to candidates who scored higher that code violations would be filed on their homes if they did not decline fire marshal jobs.
Ward said in court that the district attorney’s office is “ready for trial” on both indictments. Carney and Allen were released on their own recognizance and are due back in court on Oct. 12.
An Islip Town spokeswoman, Caroline Smith, said officials were notified of the alleged wrongdoing on April 19. She said Allen has been placed on modified administrative duty while town officials “evaluate the situation.” She said the town did not force Carney to resign last week.
When Carney’s resignation was made public in a news release issued by the town, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter thanked Carney for his 26 years of service.
“We’re saddened to learn about the issue and hope that at the end of the day he will be exonerated of these charges,” Smith said Tuesday.
Allen was hired by the town in March 2007, according to 2015 town payroll records. Last year, his base salary was $91,342, the records state, and he was paid an additional $11,002 in overtime, bringing his total compensation to $102,344.
Carney has been employed by the town since June 1990, records show. He has worked as a hazmat team leader and a mechanic at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma before he was appointed by the Islip Town Board, then led by Supervisor Tom Croci, who lauded Carney’s leadership after superstorm Sandy, to public safety commissioner in 2013. His salary for 2015 was listed at $102,942.