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Nov 30, 2011 11:51 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Approves More Police Overtime

Nov 30, 2011 12:19 PM

The Southampton Town Board narrowly approved another $18,000 in police overtime costs on Tuesday night in what has become a routine action during recent meetings, and a point of frustration for some board members.

Even though the Southampton Town Police Department accrued an additional $33,000 in overtime costs over the first two weeks of November, the board was asked on Tuesday to allocate only an additional $18,000 because there was money remaining from an earlier allotment, explained Town Comptroller Tamara Wright.

The measure passed 3-2, with Town Councilman Jim Malone voting no and Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi abstaining.

As of the end of November, Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. had spent an estimated $702,000 on police overtime, some $225,000 more than he was budgeted for this year, according to Ms. Wright. And that figure is only expected to go up before the end of the year as it does not include overtime expenditures for the last two weeks of November and all of December.

With three pay periods remaining in the year—overtime runs at a two-week lag—Mr. Malone estimated on Tuesday that the town could expect to pay another $120,000 more in police overtime. “Which would be 850,000—all told,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how much more money Chief Wilson would need to get his department through the end of the year as he has not returned calls in recent weeks, namely ever since his department’s overtime expenditures have been the focus of board meetings.

The accumulated overtime costs greatly exceed the $475,000 budget for overtime expenses set aside for the police department in 2011, though some town officials have acknowledged that this year’s budget was underfunded. The department spent about $525,000 on overtime in 2010, according to Ms. Wright.

Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming noted that Chief Wilson presented a report to board members prior to Tuesday night’s meeting outlining the overtime expenses. She said he “recognizes the constraints” and has already acted to curb overtime by taking a patrol car off the road.

Ms. Fleming also noted that one of the expenses in the most recent report that jumped out at her was the 21 entries for “shift shortages”—shifts left unfilled by officers who are out on disability or have taken time off.

“There are other adjustments that he’s making, which I think is included in the outline that he gave you earlier today,” Ms. Fleming told her fellow board members.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato declined to provide a copy of the report to the media, stating that it contained sensitive police information.

Still, Mr. Malone and Mr. Nuzzi seemed unsatisfied with the report, and they noted that overtime costs haven’t changed much since they first addressed it with the chief.

“It doesn’t seem as though we’re changing the numbers,” Mr. Malone said. “It’s still running at about $20,000 a week.”

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst added that she met with the chief and asked him to provide a memo that anticipates what December will cost the town in overtime. She also said that officers tend to take their vacation days during November and December, and that overtime traditionally spikes toward the end of the year.

Mr. Nuzzi said he was under the impression that a policy change would be enacted to help reduce overtime costs. He also pointed out that the issue first came to light in October.

“We’re almost into December now, hearing [that] the numbers don’t seem to have changed much,” Mr. Nuzzi said. “Actually, they seem to have increased slightly. And there’s still no clear direction as to what’s happening or what’s proposed to deal with the overtime issue. I’ve been waiting for that memo for quite a while.”

Mr. Nuzzi said he abstained, rather than voting no, because he did not want to vote against paying the officers for time served. He said it was not their fault that their overtime was authorized by the police chief.

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The chief took a patrol car off the road?! Nuzzi and Malone are clueless when it comes to this stuff, Chief Wilson is still acting within the constraints of the previous chiefs budget which is prob about the same as the 1960's budget. It appears that Chief Wilson is attempting to bring the police dept into this century as it was completely run poorly under the old regime (merely my opinion). Chief Wilson listened to the public ( something the previous chief did not) and added another sector car ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 30, 11 5:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
The board wants the department to work with less officers, that means empty sector cars and therefore overtime to fill those cars.Time and a half to be exact. It is cheeper to bring the number of officers up to what the chief needs in order to run an efficient department rather than paying overtime to fill the cars. Its a no brainer but, the board just doesn't see it. We need more officers not less.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 30, 11 5:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
Money well spent-I'm sure officers with the highest salaries are taking all the overtime they can get before having their jobs end next year.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 30, 11 5:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
The town board has yet to hire anyone even though the staffing has decreased drastically due to retirements, injury or the lack of technology project. Hire more officers, it will decrease the overtime! Its not rocket science, plus town taxes are being raised $24 per household this year. Not any of that money goes into the Police Fund yet that is the smallest everyone pays......
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 30, 11 6:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Love the management credo under which the Chief (and many posters) are operating, to wit, when reducing staff for reasons of economy, replacing terminated workers with overtime workers is perfectly okay. Is this what the Town did with the forty-plus Town positions OUTSIDE the p.d. that were eliminated in the last few years.

Here's a wholly novel idea for the Chief: Stay within your budget or we will find someone who can.

Until that threat is raised, implicitly or explicitly, ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 30, 11 8:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
You can't argue that the Southampton Town Police is still a much cheaper option for the residents. Because the politicians fail to properly adjust tax rates, to meet the needs of the contracts they agree to. How is this the officer's fault.

Also, the Superior Officers supported William Hughes (Malone and Nuzzi's fellow republican), Anthony Tenaglia, the SOA's union leader, was Malone, Nuzzi, and Graboski preference for chief. I think it is transparent. the Republican heavy town board ...more
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 1, 11 12:41 AM
Also did any of the politicians take a pay cut?
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 1, 11 12:41 AM
HHS the 40+ town positions that were eliminated in the past few years were created when the economy was good and someone on the inside wanted a friend to get a job. Those positions were not vital to he running of town hall. If the work doesn't get done today there is always tomorrow. Not true with the police department. If there is an accident, someone with a medical emergency, fight ect you don't want to be told "it will be a while before someone can get to you". The police are there 24/7 365 days. ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Dec 1, 11 8:05 AM
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HHS, the political wing of the PD is out in full force in this article as expected. This has been going on for more than a decade, a police department unaccountable to anyone, creating massive deficits in good times and bad. And the cops' bloggers. friends and relatives are out in full force regardless of the fiscal impact on the town - "JUST GIVE THEM WHATEVER THEY WANT OR YOU'LL END UP DEAD DURING YOUR HOUR OF NEED OR CRIMINALS WILL OVERRUN SOUTHAMPTON IF THEIR ENDLESS BUDGET DEFICITS ARE ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 1, 11 10:03 AM
Observant, (who isn't)
I ask that you also please document anything that you post. There is NO evidence that at any time the PD went over budget. I ask you to prove me wrong.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 11 10:22 AM
Not true...Malone lead the way for Wilson to get the job.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 11 10:29 AM

Mr. Blank, can you read?

"As of the end of November, Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. had spent an estimated $702,000 on police overtime, some $225,000 more than he was budgeted for this year, according to Ms. Wright. And that figure is only expected to go up before the end of the year as it does not include overtime expenditures for the last two weeks of November and all of December."

And there's more, right in this very article:

"With three pay periods remaining ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 2, 11 1:51 AM
I read quite well, thank you. Apparently you can't say the same. That this year the PD has gone over budget is quite obvious. You and you partner, HHS has repeatedly claimed that this is the norm over the years. How many times have you been challenged to back that up? Numerous times, and you have yet to once offer a single source to back up your claims.
That the new Chief refuses to close down the sector car that covers Noyac and North Haven is the priimary cause of this OT. The old Chief would ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 11 2:02 PM
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Blank:

A couple of days ago you said:"I ask that you also please document anything that you post. There is NO evidence that at any time the PD went over budget. I ask you to prove me wrong."

I've obviously proven you wrong in a very absurd manner as you contradicted the very article you're commenting on.





By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 2, 11 2:17 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 11 3:11 PM
We gave these cops a contract. They are entitle to x amount of dollars. If you give them a big contract, you need to plan for that contract. You can sign a big contract and not raise your police tax. It is short sightedness. It is not exclusive to the police portion of the budget, but it is most apparent.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 2, 11 7:33 PM
HHS utters: or we will find someone who can.

Really? You're running for office? You're going to chance being locked up for jaywalking by the neanderthal gendarme?

Bully for you.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 30, 11 9:25 PM
Law enforcement officers do not get promoted based on their management and budgeting skills. It's a test and an interview, and when they are hired they are effectively politicians running a law enforcement agency. Police departments are not good environments for developing budgeting and management skills - skills that get one promoted to from patrol ranks are frequently not the skills needed at the Chief's level.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Nov 30, 11 11:58 PM
The town has grown and needs more services in the police, highway areas. We enjoy low taxes compared to neighboring and western towns. Taxes need to be raised to hire more people in the PD and Hwy to cover the needs of the township. Its really the only solution along with contract negotiations with all the labor employeed by the town. Unpopular but everyone needs to pitch in during these times. The private sector is doing it so the public sector needs to be reformed as well. We all pay more a the ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 1, 11 6:25 AM
Come on Chris, by not voting is the same as saying NO! Make a difference, thats why your a councilman. You can not hog tie the Chiefs hands, when he needs more people on the road to do the job. You can not also sit back and complain about the officers that are on sick leave or take their contractual vacations, and expect the Chief to still operate with no overtime budget. learn to ask questions during contract negotiations, ask the budget officer what the projected cost will be at the beginning ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Dec 1, 11 8:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
The fault for the stupendous overtime rests squarely on the shoulders of the Chief. A reduced staff requires a restructured schedule. He has, evidently, failed to make the needed structural changes and is filling vacant tours with overtime cops instead of deleting/changing the tours. His failure has entirely negated the financial saving of the Council cuts.

Management is his JOB. We don't expect him to be out on the street wrestling suspected DWIs into the back of his patrol car. ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 1, 11 11:03 AM
The fault for this stupendous overtime rests on the back of CHIEF OVERTON, his budget this year is what the present chief is trying to work off of, which the town council has stated was underfunded. Once again you are throwing ideas or suggestions around that you have absolutely no basis, do you know there hasnt been a restructuring or units shut to backfill the patrol force? Cause I dont and Im sure not jumping to conclusions. He's attempting to bring the police department out of the dark ages.......and ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Dec 1, 11 5:24 PM
I can't see $18,000,000+ as "underfunded", but I've been known to be wrong...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 1, 11 9:54 PM
That's the complete police budget not the overtime budget, the article above states the ot budget was already underfunded and the town board knew about it.
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Dec 1, 11 11:35 PM
No one ever takes responsibility for anything in this town, Now you have a chief that wants a million dollar computer and can't control overtime. Where do we get these idiots from? If we found a chief to work for 50k could he do a worst job?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 1, 11 9:58 PM
....Only if he did things like use the word "worst"
By HBGuy (14), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 11 10:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Has the word "budget" taken on a new meaning? It used to be the sum of money that one had to accomplish a task. However, when used in the context of the STPD, it appears to mean the amount allocated to run the department - plus any more that the Chief may decided later that he needs (retroactively.)

Good luck, Chief, in "bring[ing] the police department out of the dark ages"; good luck in computerizing DWI busts. But spend some time looking at the books. In any other circumstance, a ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 2, 11 12:27 PM
... If you use Malone's number of $850k in overtime per year and assume the average cost for a new cop is $80k a year( which is probably on the high side) you then have two options: pay the OT or bring in 10 new officers. I would rather have the added protection.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 2, 11 4:00 PM
Malone doesn't like the overtime, but he's the same town board member that consistently denied the chief's request to hire more officers to fill the increasingly vacant spots. Has anyone actually watched this guy (malone) speak on various topics? Pre-school children have made more sense. And trust ne, Nuzzi isn't far behind him. If the republican party doesn't tell these people what to say and what to think, they'd be completely lost.
By HBGuy (14), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 11 10:15 PM
If we assume, as some posters have implied, that we NEED a hundred cops on the payroll, the truth is that we will never again arrive at that number with the current structure of police services in place. The PBA has simply priced its members out of the market. Indeed, as the years roll by and annual pay increases take effect, the average compensation/yr. of STPD officers will surmount $$200K/yr and then $$250K. We can expect the number of cops on the force to shrink commensurately.

Alternatively, ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 3, 11 10:43 AM
Yes yes bub!
We'll import the peasant class from Nepal and have them providing police services to the residents of and visitors to the Hamptons!!
Stupendous idea!!
Have you at last taken complete leave of your senses?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 3, 11 11:24 AM
2 members liked this comment
Yeah, but where is the equality in hiring, it would be like hiring a Gestapo Police Force. Man. You are definitely either a cop that got fired, or a cop that retired. I am done with you. You probably own a security company with those ideal.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 4, 11 10:12 PM
to theshtdharmainitiative:

The Gestapo was civil service.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 5, 11 1:37 PM
The salaries would be compatible to other long island police agencies as that's how collective bargaining works, I know you don't need that explained to you HHS. So you might want to complain about SCPD first and security services doing police services?! Now I've heard it all.....
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Dec 3, 11 11:05 AM
I think that HHS' point is that these salaries are out of line, and even excessive.

The per capita income in Suffolk County is 26k, or 35k pending the source. The income inequality we see in one of the more serious contributors to crime, and malfeasance. Basically, by collective bargaining, and exacting more from the people who pay their salary, they actually contribute to making their job more difficult, even hazardous.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 3, 11 11:16 AM
And the poverty level for a family of 4 on long island is $70000 where it's $25000 in the rest of the us. HHS point as always is he dislikes the town police, point taken now move on.
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Dec 3, 11 11:31 AM
What some people don't realize is that the overtime can be a tremendous burden on the officers. They have to work the overtime whether they want to or not because it's not the type of job that you can just stop what you're doing and go home. While the money is nice, the missed birthday parties, holidays, dinners, appointments, etc. are not nice. It's not easy when you promise your children something and then can't deliver because some idiot is driving drunk at the end of your shift or because ...more
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on Dec 3, 11 11:06 PM
OK, say you have a job in the service industry.

You're either on shift, or on call, and an emergency job is called in.

NEXT...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 4, 11 7:28 PM
The federal government and states like California have contracted out security services to private entities successfully.

We are not stuck with the STPD if the PBA remains intransigent. We may, should it become necessary, install a new police force that is both professional and economic.

The PBA's obduracy is fostered by their belief that there is no alternative to them That is simply not the case.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 4, 11 11:02 AM
Let us humor you for just a moment, Mr. Size. Do you equate "security services" with police protection? Is what is permitted 3000 miles away legal in New York State? You constantly attack the professionalism of the STPD - why? Give us something better than their appearance in uniform at town meetings please - especially when those meetings have a direct connection to their chosen careers.

Now, please humor us - would you (who has consistently shown distrust of those in law enforcement) ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 4, 11 4:27 PM
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High Hat Size? What do you do other then bash the Southampton Town Police Department? I read through your posts, like 80% of them are anti Southampton Town Police? Get a grip guy. Hope you don't get robbed, mugged, or become the victim of a larceny.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 4, 11 10:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
to theshtdharmainitiative:

The subject of this thread IS the STPD. The article reveals that the Chief has torpedoed Council attempts at salary economies therein by handing out overtime. It illustrates the fact that the STPD remains immune from control either of its budget or of its performance.

I have not "bashed" the STPD. I have pointed out, by reference both to its compensation and to its behavior, that it is a privileged caste within the Town civil service, immune to affect ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 5, 11 10:45 AM
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" Furthermore, its main role is as drunk driver catcher, a necessary task which, however, it performs by finessing probable cause with tacit consent from higher authority. This cavalier attitude towards professional conduct, learned from its superiors, imbues the ranks."

So your saying all the Town PD does is drunk driving arrests? When did you get one or are you and Linda still upset about hers. AND FURTHERMORE, if you hire the new officers like is needed the superior officers, "whos ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Dec 5, 11 12:47 PM
Wow.. Parade nakedly down the street. My point from the beginning has been this. The politicians. Whether it was Skip Heaney, or Anna, or Linda, or Vince, or whoever. Have constantly pandered to the police department. They by enlarge do, what I feel is a better then average job. The town should have planned better for these raises they gave out, by responsibly raising taxes. For the price of an egg sandwich, per household over the year. Several lay-offs, not just police lay-offs, but other ...more
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Dec 15, 11 1:02 AM