Because there has never been a female police officer on the Bethlehem force who has been granted a promotion, Cocchiara said it demonstrates a gender bias against women.
"It is my belief that gender discrimination plays a role as to why I have been denied a promotion on four separate occasions," said Cocchiara.
Members of the town board went into a one-hour executive session to discuss the resolution before the vote to confirm Rexford and Shunk's appointments. Representatives from the town's human resources department, the town's attorney and labor attorney Mike Smith, along with Corsi and Heffernan, were present. When the board returned, Rexford and Shunk were unanimously approved for the promotions.
"From the town perspective, we're excited about promoting Rexford and Shunk," said Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham.
There were no comments from any town board members after the vote. Cunningham did say the matter has been reviewed internally.
"Any accusations like that always raises a concern," Cunningham said.
Cocchiara said morale within the ranks is low because of the department's recent decisions.
"I am concerned that my actions and courage to achieve justice may result in future disciplinary or punitive measures against me," Cocchiara wrote.
The Albany County Civil Service Commission will review the appointments of Shunk and Rexford to ensure they are in accordance with local civil service rules and regulations.""