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New York Ferry Captain Appears at Hearing

Dec 1, 2003 | AP

The captain of the Staten Island ferry that crashed last month appeared at a hearing Monday as part of a procedure to determine if he will lose his job.

Capt. Michael Gansas appeared before a city Department of Transportation labor relations specialist, who will decide within two weeks whether Gansas should be fired or reinstated, said Tom Cocola, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

The decision will be binding for the agency, but if the specialist decides to fire Gansas, he will have the right to go to arbitration or appeal to the mayor's office of labor relations, Cocola said.

Cocola declined to disclose what was said at the hearing, but said that both sides presented their cases.

Gansas did not comment as he left the hearing, and his lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Gansas was suspended without pay effective Oct. 22 when he refused to talk to investigators about the Oct. 15 accident that killed 10 people and injured dozens others.

After his 30-day suspension expired last week, Gansas had three choices: accept the Department of Transportation's decision to terminate him; go to an administrative trial; or enter into a grievance procedure.

Authorities have said Gansas and Assistant Capt. Richard Smith, who was at the controls at the time of the crash, could face federal charges related to the accident.

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