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Jul 25, 2012 10:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Around Town Hall: Collins To Head Planning Department, Attorney Hired For Disciplinary Hearing

Jul 27, 2012 2:32 PM

The Southampton Town Board has appointed former town planner Kyle Collins as the municipality’s new planning and development administrator. He replaces Jefferson Murphree who left the town last January and was recently hired as the planning director for Riverhead Town.

Mr. Collins was appointed by a unanimous vote on Tuesday evening, thought it appears the appointment was less than wholeheartedly supported by all of the board’s members.

“I’ve made it no secret that I thought the acting planning administrator, Freda Eisenberg, was doing an excellent job,” Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said. “Kyle has the experience and previous years of service to the town and I’m looking forward to two of them working together.

“I’d like to see a very clear delineation of the many issues that are facing the town and the Planning Department,” she continued. “And I would like to see the town establish a Division of Long-Term Planning and it would be my recommendation that Ms. Eisenberg be named to head that division.”

Ms. Eisenberg had been Mr. Murphree’s deputy planning administrator and has headed the Planning Department since his departure, including marshaling the kickoff of the town’s Waterfront Protection Plan, a sweeping study and comprehensive development blueprint for all the town’s waterfront areas. Ms. Eisenberg was one of the three initial candidates being considered to permanently replace Mr. Murphree, who served as the town’s planning and development administrator, the head of the Planning Department, for 13 years.

The board interviewed Ms. Eisenberg and two other candidates back in May but made no appointments and held no other interviews until Mr. Collins sat for a 40-minute interview with the board earlier this month. He will make $117,300 per year.

“We’re getting long-term knowledge of working within the Town of Southampton and a combination of experience in the community and in Town Hall,” Councilman Chris Nuzzi said of Mr. Collins, who worked in the town’s Planning Department for a decade before leaving in 2008 to start his own development consulting firm. “He understands the character of the community, it’s rural character ... and how it is fundamental to be able to balance that with the ability of our businesses to survive out here.”

Attorneys Appointed

The Town Board has hired a pair of law firms to handle cases involving the town’s embattled police department

The board on Tuesday agreed to pay the law firm of Sokoloff Stern $225 an hour, up to $10,000 total, to act as the town’s counsel during the disciplinary hearings for Town Police Lieutenant James Kiernan. The board, however, has not yet hired legal representation in the cases involving Town Police officer Eric Sickles and code enforcement officer Alfred Tumbarello, who was arrested earlier this year on charges of possession of and selling cocaine. Both Lt. Kiernan and Officer Sickles are currently suspended and facing a host of charges leveled against them by Town Police Chief William Wilson.

Hearing officers have already been appointed to sit in judgement of the cases against Mr. Tumbarello and Lt. Kiernan. A hearing officer has not yet been appointed for Officer Sickles’ case.

Additionally, the town agreed to hire the law firm of Devitt Spellman Barrett to represent the town in its defense of a $1 million lawsuit filed last week by Craig Chillemi. A convicted drug dealer, Mr. Chillemi is suing three Town Police officers—Lt. Kiernan, Officer Sickles and Officer Thomas Tully—in federal court, claiming that they worked to frame him for crimes he did not commit because he was dating a police officer’s daughter.

The board allotted up to $10,000 for its legal defense of the lawsuit.

Town’s Credit Rating
Affirmed, Not Increased

The credit rating agency Moody’s affirmed the town’s credit rating this week as AA-1, the level it was at last year and the highest the town has ever held.

The agency, however, declined to increase the town’s rating to AAA, despite a push by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s office and Town Comptroller Leonard Marchese to convince them to do so. The AAA rating is typically bestowed on cities and large towns that boast substantial commercial and industrial business sectors, Mr. Marchese told Town Board members on Tuesday.

“This is the highest rating the town has ever had,” Mr. Marchese said. “Only one town has AAA and that’s Huntington because of their diverse economic situation. Diversity is what they’re looking for.”

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Those who have been continually sniping at Anna Throne-Holst, please take a good look at the part about our town's credit rating and the interest payments we'll save because of it. Please remember that it was Ms. Throne-Holst's administration that had to rescue Southampton's credit rating when it toppled on account of the Republican deficits. That rescue was accomplished by hard work and tough decisions by a few very dedicated public servants on the ATH team.

This, folks, is where the ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 25, 12 8:44 PM
Enough already George, the underpinnings of the economic recovery caused by the machinations during the Heaney administration were put in place under the Kabot administration. The actions taken required at least three affirmative votes. Last I looked the Supervisor had only one vote, and never had more than one actual enrolled Democrat on the Board, so I would state with just about absolute certainty that either at least one of two Republicans or a Conservative had to provide the third vote.

While ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 27, 12 9:34 PM
Tired, lame and wrong, NT. As usual, you're forgetting that Ms. Kabot had key positions in town government before becoming Supervisor, first as Vince Cannuscio's right hand, and then as Board member in the Heaney administration. She was there and part of the team in charge when the money was lost, and she did nothing.

You're also forgetting that if it happens while you're Supervisor, good or bad, you own it. The finances are getting fixed on
ATH's watch, so she gets the credit. ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 28, 12 2:42 PM
Nay nay Mr. Lynch, aka Mr. Clam Pie aka Turkey Bridge aka Suffolk County Democratic Committeeperson aka Southampton Town Democratic Committee officer.

Quick and easy rebuttal.

Independence Party member Throne-Holst also held a Town Board position under Mr. Heaney and it was not she, but Democratic Party Member Sally Pope who raised the issue of Mr. Heaney's financial dealings. So what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

My statement with regard to the underpinnings ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 28, 12 11:02 PM
Your Ms. Kabot lost that election if I recall correctly, NT, but you don't seem to have read the papers, because you're still campaigning against ATH. Let go of it, man.

BTW, re Rumba's, which I see you don't mention, you better stop beating up on a successful business, or your new best friends in the GOP, all business guys, may walk away from you. I'm sure you're just on probation with them anyway, so be careful. Of course, if they'd talked to us first, they wouldn't even have let you ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 29, 12 10:17 AM
Do tell TB, "GOP, all business guys" how did you earn your living?
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 29, 12 10:37 AM
There you go again George.

Your lack of denial as to the accuracy of my statements regarding Ms. Kabot's role in the Town's economic recovery speaks volumes.

The issue of campaign contributions is more appropriately discussed in the article on Rumba. The interesting tidbit about that here is your accusations about "beating up on a successful business" would apparently leave you diametrically opposed to Bridget Fleming (the Democrat) who raised the issue.

Shocking to ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jul 29, 12 11:18 AM
Back to the future. This Board is so brain dead that all it can do is recycle and rescue the same developers' hacks from their defunct consulting firms. Here comes Kyle Collins back through the revolving door at $117,300 per year. Plus how much for benefits and car, gas etc.? And if that's not enough, he will be partnered with Freda Eisenberg who calls it in from NYC obfuscating all the way. Two = zero.
By 06470571776 (2), southampton on Jul 27, 12 11:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
With all these "planning guru's" hired to represent our comumunity and reshape
it!!! No thank you!!! We do not want to look like Riverhead, no offense intended!!
STOP the redesign of our East End and leave our rural communities to the
citizens/taxpayers!! ENOUGH!!!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Jul 28, 12 8:35 AM