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Jan 9, 2012 3:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Union Deal Saves Southampton Town Cops From Chopping Block

Jan 11, 2012 10:22 AM

Three veteran Southampton Town Police officers will get to keep their jobs, thanks to an agreement between town officials and the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association to block their forced retirement in exchange for union givebacks, which was ratified at a Town Board meeting on Tuesday.

Southampton Town Councilman Jim Malone sponsored two resolutions at Tuesday’s board meeting that will allow the officers to keep their jobs. The resolutions, which were approved unanimously by board members, are based on a memorandum of agreement reached between the PBA and the town, he said at a work session on Friday.

The resolutions void a measure of Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s budget that called for the forced retirements of eight police officers as a means to balance the budget this year—five officers voluntarily retired, bringing the number of forced retirements down to three.

At Friday’s work session, Ms. Throne-Holst commended the compromise and said that members of the PBA and town officials reached an “out-of-the-box” solution. She noted that the PBA agreed to convert 10 paid holiday days for its members into unpaid time off, in exchange for keeping the officers on the job. The town will save about $330,000 with the measure, according to Mr. Malone.

While the agreement doesn’t reach the town’s savings goal of nearly $500,000, it’s a win-win situation, Mr. Malone said. “It’s the foundation of what everybody tries to get to in these types of negotiations, in that everybody got something, and nobody got everything, but that the public is served because our force is intact.”

The town needed to shave about $1.7 million from the police budget this year, Ms. Throne Holst said on Tuesday. “There was very little room left that did not involve sacrifices and concessions in terms of staffing and personnel,” she said.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said because of the impact of the state’s 2-percent tax levy cap, the town will likely have similar discussions about concessions with all its unions next year.

When reached on Friday afternoon, PBA President Tim O’Flaherty said he was unaware of the agreement—even though a copy of the memorandum provided by the town shows that he signed it.

“That’s news to me,” he said on Friday when asked about the memorandum and Tuesday’s upcoming board meeting. “I’ll have to reach out to the Town Board to see what they have in store.”

Ms. Throne-Holst’s office provided a copy of the memorandum of agreement on Monday. The document includes a signature by Mr. O’Flaherty dated December 22. Mr. O’Flaherty did not return calls seeking clarification on Monday.

Ms. Throne-Holst called for the forced retirements last year to limit spending in this year’s budget. She relied on a decades-old provision of town code that allows the board to separate from service police officers who have worked 20 years or more. Her critics labeled the measure as political because it had pitted the town’s two police unions, the Superior Officers Association and the PBA, against each other. The majority of officers targeted for forced retirement were members of the SOA, instead of the PBA, which supported her reelection campaign.

Mr. Malone sponsored a resolution late last year, however, that would have drawn more evenly from the unions, accepting the retirements of four high-ranking SOA police officers while forcing the retirement of three PBA members. The forced retirements of the PBA officers, however, will end up not being necessary because of the agreement and the voluntary retirements.

Wright and Scarlato Reappointed

Southampton Town Comptroller Tamara Wright and Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato were unanimously reappointed to two-year terms on Tuesday—ending speculation that the Town Board’s Republican-Conservative majority was aiming to fill the positions with other people.

The Town Board reappointed the two women at a meeting on Tuesday following a request last week by Town Councilman Jim Malone, a Conservative Party member, and newly elected Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, a Republican, to hold off on the appointments so that Ms. Scalera could interview the two.

The request prompted strong words from Democratic Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Independence Party member Anna Throne-Holst last week, who claimed that the postponement was politically motivated.

Ms. Scalera said she was thankful for the opportunity to interview the individuals.

“I’ve certainly benefitted from the ability to have a full discussion and vetting with the full Town Board, and I’m appreciative of that,” Ms. Scalera said.

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"The town will save about $350,000 from the measure, according to Mr. Malone."

The word "save" is not used appropriately here - since it is not "savings" above the retirement of these offers. It's "savings" based on the assumption that the officers aren't to be retired.

Then again, what can we expect from Jim "I can hold you in my office because I'm the Deputy County Clerk" Malone? The guy has some serious issues and it wouldn't surprise me others like ATH are afraid of twisting ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 12 4:09 PM
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By Ref11 (17), hampton bays on Jan 10, 12 1:14 AM
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By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jan 10, 12 6:51 AM
Yes Mr Malone has some serious control issues. It must feel good to cheat a local contractor out of $10,000.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 9, 12 4:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Quick! Someone get the defib pads ready for HighHat
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 12 4:52 PM
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By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jan 9, 12 5:06 PM
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By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jan 9, 12 5:28 PM
4 members liked this comment
Oh the elections over they can change their plan now. Save 350k? Big deal the overtime is out of control at the SH PD. Have you noticed not one of these idiots has been sucessful in the real world? Democrat or Republican it has become the same bull%^&*.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 9, 12 5:33 PM
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By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 12 6:23 PM
Once again, the town board has not done anything but mislead the public. During the days prior to the election, the supervisor began layoff preceedings to scare the officers of the PBA and SOA to renegotiate the contracts they were awarded because managment of Southampton Town hall can not do its job. If a budget is adopted, it runs for 12 months, why is it that we can not forcast the overtime? Simpole math, take the budget total devide it by 26 payroll period and you can project a shortage real ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Jan 9, 12 7:56 PM
actually no elected has taken a raise in 4 years. The police are entitled to raises without any basis on merit and a whole a lot of special entitlement pay and perks. A town this size should not have a 20 million dollar police force. Thats 1/4 of the entire town budget!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Jan 9, 12 9:40 PM
A town this size? Southampton Town PD is the 3rd largest police department in Suffolk county encompassing 150 + square miles....seems about right to me.

And they havent taken a raise but have they tapped into there benefits at all. Two terms on the town board afford them free health benefits for LIFE
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Jan 10, 12 1:19 PM
I am shocked, SHOCKED that no STPD officers will be compelled to retire. As those of you who have read my posts will attest, my belief regarding the occurrence of this phenomenon was consistent. Otherwise, the Town Council's prior actions forwarding the proposal would be nothing but meaningless posturings. Nevertheless, it's good to know that the STPD payroll will be reduced by $350K due to the cops working ten days less apiece annually (unless this savings itself isn't nullified by some other ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 9, 12 9:45 PM
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God forbid we mess with the 1 cop for every 6 residents equation.
By tmarie (30), Southampton on Jan 10, 12 6:38 AM
We're you working in the comptrollers office? Fuzzy math just made me think it was a possibility. Imagine we had 10,000 cops in SH Town, maybe they would have time to arrest the illegal aliens driving w/out licenses, insurance or clues..... Unfortunately the ratio is closer to 6,000 to 1.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 12, 12 4:38 PM

The PBA has always had two Town Board members in their hip pocket, Anna and Bridget, both of whom they supported with cash and other campaign support.

All they had to do was pry another Conservative from the other side and long overdue and agreed upon Police reforms are dead on the water. The $350K savings benefit? It is beyond a joke when they could unilaterally rack up unauthorized overtime of $800 K with impunity with Anna and Bridget saying nothing, paying back the campaign support.

Now ...more
By Common Sense (56), Southampton on Jan 10, 12 4:39 PM