Mayor demotes firefighter

Dana Jensen/The Day Rocco Basilica, left, fire union president, stands behind New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio during a 2012 press conference. The mayor announced Friday that Basilica, who is entering accelerated rehabilitation on shoplifting charges, has been demoted.

New London — Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio on Friday announced he had demoted fire Lt. Rocco Basilica to a Step 6 firefighter following Basilica's arrest on charges that he shoplifted several items from the University of Connecticut Co-op Bookstore.

The demotion was the result of a departmental disciplinary review process that began after the city's administration became aware of the June 25 arrest, Finizio said.

The disciplinary action was taken only after Basilica, at Rockville Superior Court, was approved for the accelerated rehabilitation program. If he successfully completes the program and abides by the rules of a probationary period, charges will be dismissed. The probationary period is slated to end on Jan. 28, according to the court.

Basilica, who is president of the city's Firefighters Union Local 1522, is able to return to work but will not be eligible to compete in promotional testing until he completes the probationary period. Prior to his suspension, Basilica was slated to leave work on workers' compensation.

"We hold all members of public safety departments to a high standard," Finizio said. "This action was the appropriate one to ensure that our standards are met and are the same for all members of our fire department."

Basilica was suspended on July 23 after it came to light that UConn police had charged him and his wife with sixth-degree larceny. According to a UConn arrest log, Basilica allegedly left the store without paying for a total of $81.93 worth in items — keychains, socks, a cup and two T-shirts.

Basilica, who joined the fire department in 1996, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in February. He declined comment.

Basilica is the second New London firefighter charged with a crime this year. A case is pending against Alfred Mayo, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of third-degree assault and breach of peace stemming from a June 14 arrest. Mayo is accused of assaulting a man outside the Polish Club in Montville.

g.smith@theday.com

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