Barbara Sheehan, the Howard Beach resident recently acquitted for the 2008 shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD Sgt. Raymond Sheehan, will by the time this newspaper is published have been seen this week doing several major television interviews.
But this time it’s not the murder charge or even the horrible past, riddled with 18 years of domestic violence that brings Sheehan into the media spotlight. It is the loss of her job,as a payroll secretary for the New York City Department of Education as a consequence of her sentencing in July on a gun possession charge and her upcoming appeal.
Her attorneys maintain this is yet another grievously unfair punishment levied on a woman most believe has suffered too much already. Her firing from the position she held as a payroll secretary with the New York City Department of Education for the last 13 years comes after never having an unsatisfactory rating or letter of demerit in her file.
And, according to her union representative from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), there are several things wrong with how Sheehan has been treated by her former employers. To begin with she was supposed to have full health coverage for the first 60 days after her termination on March 4; instead she lost it on January 4, at the start ofher termination.
According to Sheehan, her UFT union rep informed her that when he approached the board to question the early cancellation of the health coverage he was told, “If she wants it that badly, let her fight for it.”
The UFT has moved forward to file a grievance on Sheehan’s behalf to reinstate the coverage for the allotted time; however, an assigned arbitrator has 45 days to make a determination.
In the meantime, life for Barbara Sheehan continues to be filled with frustration. Dealingwith it she says is easier because of family,friends and strangers who continue to showsupport. “It’s not like I can just go on a jobinterview—as soon as they hear my name, itchanges the whole scenario,” Sheehan says.
“What frustrates me is that there are cases where convicted felons are teaching in the NYC Department of Education, the difference is they have served their time and been released from prison.”
But, according to wide speculation among legal experts, Sheehan’s upcoming appeal is highly winnable. Charged with that task is attorney Nathaniel Marmur, who will continue to work on the case with defense attorney Michael Dowd.
In the meantime, Barbara Sheehan has updated her resume and continues with hert hird semester of college studies that include social work and writing courses. “I want to be able to do something that will help people face the terror that I did, and come out of it with their life—instead of facing a prison sentence for protecting themselves and their family.”
Barbara Sheehan can be seen on the Anderson Cooper Show that airs Thursday afternoon, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. on Channel 11.