Schenectady County

Fired probation officer reinstated

A former probation officer fired by the county has won her job back, returning to work last month, h

A former probation officer fired by the county has won her job back, returning to work last month, her attorney said.

Theresa M. Knapik also was recently paid just over $29,000 in unemployment and back pay, her attorney Kevin Luibrand said. She was reinstated about three weeks ago.

The reinstatement comes after a hearing in which the county settled the issue by essentially giving her her job back, cleaning her record of the incident, Luibrand said.

The reinstatement also comes after a key February ruling in the case by an administrative law judge. The judge found then that Knapik did nothing wrong.

The allegations were that Knapik left early one day in January 2010 without authorization to visit disgraced former city police officer John Lewis at the Schoharie County Jail.

The purpose of the visit was to give him information regarding an alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation program, according to the February findings and Luibrand.

Knapik worked through her lunch hour that day in order to leave an hour early, all with the permission of her supervisor. That, the judge wrote, was an accepted practice.

Knapik had worked as a probation officer since 1992. She was paid about $56,000 a year.

Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Gardner could not be reached for comment.

Luibrand has charged that Knapik was originally fired because she was trying to own weapons once owned by Lewis.

Knapik earlier lost her bid to take possession of four guns once owned by Lewis.

Knapik filed a petition in state Supreme Court to have the guns turned over to her. Arguments were held in September 2011.

The guns became an issue in November 2008, after Lewis was charged with offenses against his estranged wife and she obtained an order of protection against him.

With the order, Lewis was not allowed to possess any guns. He turned over four handguns.

Lewis secretly kept a fifth gun for sentimental reasons.

That gun was the basis for a federal felony plea and 16-month sentence. He was formally fired from the department in April 2010. The guns have since either been destroyed or turned over to the state police firearms lab for comparison purposes.

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