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Jan 6, 2012 12:54 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Board Drops Charges Against Penny

Jan 10, 2012 5:30 PM

The East Hampton Town Board has dropped disciplinary charges against Natural Resources Director Larry Penny, announcing in a press release on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with the 28-year department head that “is in the best interest of everyone close to the matter.”

Four members of the Town Board voted to approve an agreement with Mr. Penny that “resolves all of the issues between the parties,” according to the resolution, which did not describe the agreement further. The fifth member of the board, Theresa Quigley, did not attend the meeting.

A joint press release issued by Mr. Penny’s attorney, Thomas Horn, and Town Attorney John Jilnicki on Thursday said Mr. Penny had been planning to retire at an undetermined date, but did not say that was the reason the charges were dropped.

“There was an input from leading members of the community urging that any issues be resolved in a positive and constructive manner,” the press release said. “This improved communication revealed that Mr. Penny had been actively investigating when to leave his position for several months. While the long-time employee has not submitted a letter of resignation, the Town Board is not interested in interfering with a timetable of Mr. Penny’s choosing.”

When asked for elaboration on Monday, Mr. Horn referred a reporter to the press release, which stated that a person’s career plans and employment record, is “a private matter, by law and custom.”

“The town and Mr. Penny hope that members of the press and public respect that desire for privacy and understand further comments will be limited, if there are any necessary comments to be made at all.”

On December 7, the Town Board leveled 16 charges of “misconduct,” “insubordination” and “incompetence” against Mr. Penny, related to his storage of animal carcasses at his office, his management of employees and department finances, and his supervision of tree and vegetation clearing projects. The board suspended Mr. Penny for 30 days without pay and was seeking to fire him for the alleged offenses.

The Town Board’s resolution Thursday also withdrew Mr. Penny’s suspension.

The press release said Mr. Penny had not set a date for his retirement, but quoted the department head as outlining the qualities his successor should have. “I hope the next man or woman is a scientist/naturalist interested in doing justice for nature and the environment,” he said in the release.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson “noted the nearly three decades of dedicated service to the Town of East Hampton by Larry,” according to the release, which also said, “while there may have been differences and disagreements over certain issues, the 
town never doubted Larry’s commitment to preservation efforts.”

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That's not the original "oldschool" method of getting rid of somebody, but it sure is close.
By HarborDad (37), Sag Harbor on Jan 6, 12 1:23 PM
My goodness, quite a fiddling section is developing in the EH Town Board Orchestra. So much dysfunctional drama!

And did not Ms. Quigley also miss the meeting earlier this week to swear in the new Board members?

Have a good weekend, and Happy New Year!

By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Jan 6, 12 3:09 PM
So does he get backpay for the days he was suspended since the charges were dropped?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 6, 12 3:31 PM
East Hampton and Southampton are tied for the 2012 dysfunctional award. Its going to be an interesting year.

Larry deserves backpay plus a bonus.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 6, 12 3:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
odd character. Very odd.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Jan 8, 12 9:14 AM
Dwight Shrute was reprimanded by HR for bringing animal carcasses to the office and he was made Assistant to the Asssitant Regional Manager.
By Hambone (514), New York on Jan 8, 12 12:03 PM
at least it saved the taxpayers legal charges.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jan 9, 12 9:23 AM
Somethin' stinks, and it ain't the carcasses...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 9, 12 10:43 PM
Glad this was all worked out to everyone's benefit ... Larry Penny IS a natural resource ... but when it's time to go it's time to go!!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jan 17, 12 10:47 PM