TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A suspended Town of Tonawanda police officer is about to regular paychecks and $220,000 in back pay.
Howard Scholl was suspended without pay in 2019 after an off-duty car accident in which Scholl allegedly claimed his wife was behind the wheel. A second police report listed Scholl as the driver.
Now, the appellate court in Rochester has ordered that Scholl get his back pay. Tonawanda Supervisor Joe Emminger tells News 4, he’s not happy about the ruling because the town followed ‘proper procedures.’ and he says the town has been trying to fire Scholl.
“Very frustrating,” said Emminger. “That’s the word that I would use. It’s frustrating but it’s the law.”
Tonawanda Town supervisor Joe Emminger says Officer Howard Scholl is back on the town payroll and will receive the back pay, even though he still faces a felony charge.
In January of 2019, Scholl and his wife were involved in a car accident on Englewood Avenue while he was off duty in the town where he works. The original police report indicated that she was behind the wheel, but he later admitted he was the one driving at the time. So they both were charged with falsifying business records.
An appellate court ruled in May that the town was wrong to suspend him without pay while the court case proceeds.
But Emminger said that the court also clarified that the town can attempt to terminate him. “We handled the discipline proceeding correctly. They agreed that we followed the proper procedures, the appellate division agreed that we had followed proper procedures in our termination and wanting the way we wanted to terminate him.”
Town officials can’t terminate him yet until the Tonawanda Police union’s appeal is heard. In the meantime, Emminger says Scholl won’t be working the streets or the office. “The actions are that serious in our opinion. Public confidence. What do you rely on your police officers for? They’re here to protect you and uphold the law, and Officer Scholl has admitted he did some things that night that he doesn’t warrant being hired back on the Town of Tonawanda Police force.”
Scholl’s attorney, Barry Covert said his client wants to get back to being an active police officer as soon as possible.
Scholl is due back in court in mid-September for proceedings in the felony case against him. If convicted of falsifying business records, Scholl could receive a sentence of one and a third to four years in prison.
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.