IRVINGTON, NJ — The latest installment of former police Chief Michael Chase’s Office of Administrative Law hearings took place Monday, April 3, before Judge Kimberly Moss; it was Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Quanilla Spruill’s turn to testify regarding Chase’s alleged violations of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Guidelines for the operations of police departments in the state that led to Joseph Santiago, former police director and current Public Safety Department employee, formally charging him with 22 counts of violating Irvington Police Department policies and procedures.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, attorney and hearing officer Sheila Ellington issued her final decision on the matter and, in a 32-page decision, found Chase guilty of 12 out of the 22 charges Santiago had leveled against him. Chase’s next hearing is Wednesday, April 12, at 9 a.m. at the OAL offices in Newark.
Attempts to obtain comments from Mayor Tony Vauss, Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers, Santiago or township attorney Ramon Rivera about Chase’s OAL appeal case were unsuccessful by press time this week. This time around, the township is being represented by the DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole law firm out of Teaneck.
After Ellington found him guilty last year, Chase filed a “de novo” appeal of Ellington’s ruling with the Office of Administrative Law eight months ago and asked for his case to be heard by an impartial OAL judge and, on Dec. 3, 2016, he had his first new hearing in his old case.
“De Novo means a fresh look at an old case, but this time, before an actual judge, as opposed to a hearing officer who was hired by the township. It’s an impartial hearing of my disciplinary hearing case that was ruled on last year,” said Chase on Sunday, March 19, and again on Monday, April 3. “I filed an appeal on the discharge of my case.”