EXETER — Although he has been a regular topic of debate at Exeter Borough council meetings dating back to his termination, recently reinstated police officer Leonard Galli was not mentioned during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
But council members who have been mum on the topic thus far did answer questions afterward.
After being caught using a police station computer while on duty to view pornography and arrange sexual encounters through Craigslist, Galli agreed to a temporary demotion and pay cut. Galli however contended that he did not agree to have specific descriptions of his actions documented.
Galli was terminated after the disagreement arose. He then filed a lawsuit against the borough, contending that he was wrongfully terminated. Last month, arbitrator Ralph Colflesh Jr. ruled in Galli’s favor prompting his reinstatement.
Council member Larry Dellegrotto, who voted in favor of termination, gave his first public comment on the matter following the meeting.
“I feel I did the right thing,” he said of his vote.
He also took issue with criticisms he has received from some of his colleagues on council as well as residents who alleged that the costs associated with Galli’s termination were wasteful, noting that he believed Galli’s actions warranted termination and that Galli was wrong to file suit against the borough.
He added that he disagreed with the arbitrator’s ruling, but that the borough will nevertheless “have to move on as a community.”
Dellegrotto could not say whether or not Exeter officials had any intention of appealing the arbitrator’s decision.
Council member John Morgan, who voted against termination and has regularly criticized the majority of council members who pursued this course of action, would not say whether or not he was happy to have Galli back on the force.
“People have rights,” Morgan said of Galli. “His rights were violated in the way that he was fired.”
Morgan added that he was more concerned that the current budget does not include Galli’s salary.
Both Dellegrotto and Exeter Police Chief John McNeil stated that it was uncertain when Galli would resume his duties.
Terms of the arbitration require that Galli pay half of the arbitration hearing’s cost, $5,600, before he can return to work. The borough of Exeter is required to pay the other half.