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Jun 26, 2013 10:39 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Cancels Day Off For Town Employees

Jun 26, 2013 10:39 AM
In her annual “State of the Town” address earlier this month, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst thanked town employees for their long hours of work, sometimes without additional compensation, during the Superstorm Sandy onslaught and recovery. As a reward, she promised that Town Hall would be closed on Friday, July 5, giving employees a four-day weekend.

On Tuesday night, though, she had her promise revoked by her colleagues on the Town Board.

A resolution to officially close Town Hall and several other town-operated offices for the additional day following the regularly scheduled July 4 holiday failed to win a majority of support from board members when Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Scalera voted against the measure, citing concerns about contractual issues and the justification for giving employees an additional day off.

With Councilman Jim Malone absent from Tuesday night’s meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming’s votes in favor of the day off were not enough to make it official.

Ms. Throne-Holst said she will consider calling a special meeting of the Town Board after this week’s work session on Thursday, June 27, to ask the board to cast another vote on the proposal, in hopes that Mr. Malone would provide the deciding vote for the extra day off.

“I apologize to the people who were looking forward to that day,” Ms. Throne-Holst said after the resolution failed. “For those who were the boots on the ground and did not put in for extra time ... we don’t have the ability to give raises or bonuses. What we can give is extra time.”

Ms. Throne-Holst said that on the holiday weekends, especially with a single workday left after a major holiday, very few people come to Town Hall for regular business.

But Mr. Nuzzi objected, saying that on one of the busiest weekends of the East End’s year, the town should not be closing its offices for an additional day. He also said that town employees are generously compensated with time off and have ample opportunity to take the day off using one of their alloted personal days.

Mr. Nuzzi said that his own review of the contracts with town employees revealed that with alloted holidays, personal days, vacation days and sick days, most employees are given five to six weeks of time off from their jobs during the year and some are afforded as many as 12 weeks off. He noted in a separate conversation, that the vast majority of town employees do not even use all their alloted time off in a year and that, if they did, the town would have a hard time functioning.

“I appreciate the work that our town employees do,” Mr. Nuzzi said. “But I think there’s ways to show appreciation outside of working apart from the collective bargaining agreement, which already states that there are 13 paid holidays. I’m not sure it is doing a service to the residents of the town to allow for an additional day off. The claim that there is no cost to the public ... I think is untrue.”

“We all appreciate our workforce and they go above and beyond,” Ms. Scalera said. “If this were my own personal company and I wasn’t in trust of the residents’ money, I feel it is a luxury I could do. But as I sit ... I feel uncomfortable working outside a bargained contract.”

Not all town services would have been closed on July 5, as Town Police officers, bay constables, animal control officers, parks maintenance workers and various other staff are typically required to work on holidays. Ms. Throne-Holst’s resolution provided that those workers would be granted an additional day off to be used at their discretion before the end of 2013. The additional day off could not, the supervisor said, be carried over or banked for future additional monetary compensation as some vacation and sick days can.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato told board members that she had referred the resolution to the town’s labor attorneys and that they had deemed that granting the day off would not affect collective bargaining agreements.

CPI AnalysisThe Town Board accepted the generic environmental impact study for plans to build condos alongside the Shinnecock Canal and a hotel and convention center at the former Canoe Plan Inn nightclub property.

The board deemed the Draft GEIS complete this week, six months after rejecting the initial version submitted by consultants for the would-be developers, Rechler Equity LLC.

The board scheduled a public hearing on the EIS for its August 13 meeting.

The GEIS examines the potential impacts of the condo development and the restoration and expansion of the former CPI building.

Flanders Farmers MarketThe Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market will open for its third season this Saturday, June 29, at the David W. Crohan Community Center located at 655 Flanders Road.

The re-opening of the market, which provides fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables, will be celebrated with a performance by local singer Caroline Doctorow.

Seven local farms participate in the market, including Country Garden, Halsey Farm & Nursery, Halsey’s Green Thumb, Lisa & Bill’s Fresh Vegetables, the Milk Pail, Pike Farms and Sagaponack Potato Company. The market will be partnering this year with the Blue Duck Bakery to provide fresh baked goods as well and for the first time will accept credit cards.

Local teens will be working at the market again this year, receiving training from food management experts on food handling, agriculture, business management and customer service.

FEMA ReimbursementsFederal officials announced this month that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be upping its share of reimbursement for costs incurred by local governments in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy to 90 percent, up from 75 percent.

With more than $2.6 billion in damage to public property already claimed, federal rules allowed FEMA to increase the federal funding rate to help local municipalities repair their infrastructure.

Southampton Town has submitted more than $2.5 million in bills from the storm for consideration for reimbursement. Much of the money went to salaries for town employees working overtime during the storm and subsequent clean-up effort and for the costs of removing tons of debris from town roads and properties.

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Minus the time he spends texting on his phone during Board Meetings Nuzzi might get 5-6 weeks but Town employees start at 2 weeks for 5 years then 3 for another 5 years and then 4 weeks after 10 years. I do agree that days off are not for Anna to give out though.
By lirider (288), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 13 11:49 AM
Oh please ATH - the only people who worked and "weren't compensated" were your political appointee buddies (and let's be honest, their existence is based on not working and being compensated). No civil servants worked without compensation (and if they did the union would be pretty unhappy to hear about it) and we know from the Presses reporting how much the police made in OT.

No office will run efficiently witih the number of people calling in sick, using vaca or personal. Way to boost ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 13 12:01 PM
If town employees don't like their job they can always quit.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 26, 13 12:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Am I pointing out your inability to do some comprehensive reading, or am I being a "bully" here?
Chief, I read the story, once, then read your comment. Then I read the story again. Not once did I see anything from any town employee. Not a quote, not a source or anything. The story is about a politician pandering to the CSEA, and the legal implications of same.
Please show me something that would validate your (usual) hate filled comment.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 13 11:22 AM
2 members liked this comment
That chiefs m.o. I am afraid the poor man has a case of the jealousies against anyone lucky enough to have a secure job with benefits.
By bubby (236), southampton on Jun 27, 13 1:47 PM
It would not be smart to give the Bay Constables the day off during a major holiday weekend. As it is they are not available enough.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 26, 13 12:57 PM
They are not available because the town doesnt have enough employees working.. and do not want to hire any others.
By dbnyeve (19), wading river on Jun 26, 13 9:31 PM
At Nature: You should not write statements that are not entirely true. If you think that all CSEA/Union employees were compensated for all of their work time during Superstorm Sandy think again. The morning before the storm I was told that I was deemed "essential" personnel. The day of the storm a letter was circulated stating that if we did not report to work disciplinary action may be taken against us. Town Hall was closed for two days. I worked for 40hrs straight. I am not part of SHPD ...more
By fishdigger (3), southampton on Jun 26, 13 1:15 PM
2 members liked this comment
What dates and times did you work and what did you do?
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Jun 26, 13 1:50 PM
So you WERE compensated - just not "extra". You are aware through your job description that you may be deemed "essential personnel" and with that comes the responsibility to come to work in an emergency. ATH made it sound like people were working for free.

I'm a staunch supporter of unions and civil servants, but it is ATH who was misleading. Furthermore, giving a day off (to everyone -including those who got to stay home for two days) is not something she directly has the authority ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 13 2:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nuzzi is a jerk..all workers in this county should take note of his comments. No one is saying that the unions don't have attractive collective bargaining agreements, but the CSEA workers in Town Hall are at the bottom of the scale. There is nothing wrong with offering them a
compensated day off...especially when most work far in excess of their mandated 40 hour weeks. They are truly the unsung who ensure that the town operates smoothly!

Kudos to ATH and Flemming..and a fat raspberry ...more
By Disgustedwithyou (36), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 13 1:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
ATH should have known better. How does giving town hall employees a day off improve the bottom line? This attempt flies in the face of corporatism. Compassion has no place in Republican ideology.
Jun 26, 13 2:26 PM appended by highhatsize
Except, of course, in the distressing case of an unemployed Republican administrator.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 26, 13 2:26 PM
"Compassion has no place in Republican ideology." ?? Really, then how do you explain the STPD Street Crime cover-up? The Republican majority sure as hell were showing compassion to their fellow committee member...

Or am I off base?
By Disgustedwithyou (36), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 13 4:02 PM
ath had a lot of nerve giving the town employees a "day off" for good service. isn't that what they are paid to do??? glad the town board voted NO since most of the town employees are on a paid day off most of the time especially the town highway employees
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 26, 13 6:59 PM
Gees HHS - speaking of "Kings" and "Queens" and La la la la la la ... you seem to be taking it a little easy on ATH - LOL! You are very funny in a political, sick, twisted, desperate, one-track mind kinda way :) Have another drink and, to hell with it ... drive!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jun 26, 13 8:50 PM
to Board Watcher:

I can't imagine what prompted your incoherent reply. I merely pointed out that to expect any kind of empathetic response to subordinates (who are not fellow party members) by Republican members of the Southampton Town Board is irrational (much like your post.) Giving town hall workers a day off wouldn't save Republicans any money or put any Republican spear carriers on the payroll.

But welcome to Southampton Town, in any case. We folks hereabout are always ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 27, 13 1:31 AM
HHS - so, to be clear, you're FOR (stupendously paid) Southampton Town officers who recieved thousands (in some instances, tens of thousands) in overtime a BONUS day off because they did their job?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 13 9:31 AM
to Nature:

Dear me, no! As you note, Sandy wasn't an onerous trial for the STPD, it was a tremendous windfall. ATH's proposal was to close Town Hall for a day, giving everyone therein the day off. The cops would NOT be included.

However, your question is well put. The PBA would doubtless have sued for compensation for their exclusion.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 27, 13 12:51 PM
And that's another reading comprehension fail on your part HHS - further proving that you believe what you want and ignore everything else.

From the article, " Not all town services would have been closed on July 5, as Town Police officers, bay constables, animal control officers, parks maintenance workers and various other staff are typically required to work on holidays. Ms. Throne-Holst’s resolution provided that those workers would be granted an additional day off to be used ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 13 1:06 PM