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EMS chief faces possible disciplinary actions

The Colonie Town Board decided late last month to begin disciplinary action against EMS Chief Jon Politis, who is accused of tampering with the town's bidding process to purchase six new mechanical chest compression devices.

The 6-to-1 vote on Thursday, July 29, came after a medical devices developer Michigan Instruments claimed Politis has specifically written up the bidding rules in order to lock out some vendors, according to Sara Weist, spokeswoman for Town Supervisor Paula Mahan.

The allegations say the rules prevented [Michigan Instruments] from getting a bid the way it was written, she said.

Attempts to reach Bruce Barkalow, president of Michigan Instruments, for comment were unsuccessful.

Currently, Politis is on paid leave, although, according to Weist, the leave is not the result of the charges against him.

Town Attorney Mike Magguilli said it is town policy to not discuss the specifics of an ongoing case, but he did confirm the case is currently in litigation. He also said that Politis could be on paid leave indefinitely.

"We can only suspend someone without pay for 30 days," he said, adding they have not yet suspended Politis. "We can't suspend anyone if they haven't been formally charged, and in this case, there haven't been any formal charges."

The case is currently being handled by the labor counsel and an outside attorney hired by the town.

Town Member Dan Dustin, who cast the dissenting vote, said he felt there wasn't enough information on the case to vote to begin discipline.

"We received a report from an outside attorney," Dustin said. "I asked for a final report, and they said it wouldn't be too long."

Dustin then said he asked to see a copy of the potential violations of the ethics code but never received those or the accusatory letter from Michigan Instruments, which Dustin said never appeared before the board.

"There certainly are a lot of issues going on," he said. "We didn't have a lot of information, and the report from the outside counsel had a lot of opinions that were in need of some factual backing. But it didn't seem to affect everyone else."

Several calls were made to Politis' attorneys, Michael Ravalli and Ronald Dunn of the law firm Gleason, Dunn, Walsh and O'Shea, but they could not be reached.

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