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Oct 28, 2009 1:25 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town employees protest board over planned layoffs

Oct 28, 2009 1:25 PM

More than two dozen Civil Service Employee Association employees protested at Southampton Town Hall on Tuesday evening over layoffs in the $78 million tentative 2010 budget.

On the steps of Town Hall, Southampton CSEA President Pete Collins told union members to send a message to the Town Board.

“Stare into their eyes and give ’em hell,” Mr. Collins said.

The rally came as the Town Board held its first public hearing on the budget proposed by Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, which includes 44 layoffs and numerous cuts to government services. Hardest hit includes youth services and the animal shelter, which is seeing its budget cut completely, from $1 million this year to just a $200,000 emergency fund next year as part of a bid to privatize operations.

League of Women Voters of the Hamptons Vice President Judi Roth decried proposed cuts of two full-time staff in SEA-TV, the public television station that broadcasts educational programs and government meetings.

“The League of Women Voters is a strong advocate of transparency in government. We believe in a robust discussion of issues that affect the community,” Ms. Roth said. “The role of SEA-TV in dissemination of this information cannot be overstated. Therefore, we respectfully ask the board to carefully consider the effect that budget cuts to SEA-TV programming will have on the entire fabric of the community.”

SEA-TV Director Bruce Nalepinski warned that services would be reduced if the cuts went forward. This year, the station covered government meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and covered weekend events, he said. “We would not be able to shoot as many meetings and go to as many events,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that is done at night and over the weekend would have to be cut.”

However, Ms. Kabot said that at least one of the positions can be restored by diverting additional money from Cablevision franchise fees. “No one wants to wipe anyone out,” she said. “These are very difficult times we are facing. Difficult decisions need to be made—and they are very difficult.”

Also at the meeting, Ms. Kabot released audit results focusing on the town’s capital fund and general fund deficits. The audit, which began in May and cost more than $800,000, was performed by FTI Consulting Global of Boston.

Ms. Kabot said the capital fund deficit was $5.32 million in 2007. She cautioned that only 2003 through 2007 figures for the capital fund are available, and that more up-to-date figures are expected in the coming weeks. She said she expects the deficit to be above $6 million.

She announced the total general fund deficit is $7.68 million. She said that number has been confirmed by the auditors.

Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst, a Democrat who is running for supervisor in the November 3 election, voiced criticism that the final capital fund deficit numbers are not yet ready. “No matter what you hear tonight, we still don’t know the numbers,” she said.

Ms. Kabot responded, “Of course, but this is a work in progress.”

To keep the town solvent, Ms. Kabot has proposed paying off the deficits in two ways: By raising the property tax rate by 5 percent next year, the total allowable limit under town law, Ms. Kabot hopes to pay off the general fund deficit by the end of 2010. However, to pay off the capital fund deficit, Ms. Kabot is seeking Town Board approval to have a supplemental tax hike added to property tax bills. If her proposal is approved, Ms. Kabot said the capital fund deficit can be paid off within five years.

The supervisor said she opposes borrowing from the state to pay off deficits. Such a move could bring the town closer to “junk bond status” with downgrades in the town’s bond rating, she said, adding, “I am flatly against that.”

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Perhaps the CSEA shgould agree to foregoing their wage increase in 2010 as Ms Kabot proposed - tie it into reduced layoffs - come on - solidarity forever sounds nice but if the union really wants to do something - folks this a softee giveback. Ms Kabot is doing what she has to do and I'm sure she's not enjoying it. I'm still waiting for ATH to come up with a plan.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Oct 28, 09 2:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
Linda's plan - blame others
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 28, 09 3:04 PM
Linda Kabot makes the most vulnerable in our Town pay the price for their mismanagement ... these lowest paid employees should not be punished for Linda Kabots ignorance and failure to fix the budget ...

By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 09 9:54 PM
ATH has a plan and its a good one.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 28, 09 2:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
North of Highway...ATh not only has a plan, it's real and functional. This is old news...get a copy, read it, and tell your friends it's time for the change we all deserve!
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Oct 28, 09 2:46 PM
the plan is just generalizations. there is concrete action items. she's going to talk to department heads. why hasn't she done it the past 2 years? shes going to give a bigger workload to union employees? how is she going to change civil service law regarding responsibilities of positions? why hasn't she started any of this during her first 2 weeks in office when supposedly saw the fiscal mess but did nothing other than ask "difficult questions" Well i'm asking difficult questions how about ath ...more
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 29, 09 8:48 AM
2 members liked this comment
I do not care about Anna ... what I care about is getting rid of a Town Supervisor unworthy of the job and so uneducated as to raise taxes and hurt our seniors ... do you people get it?

And if Anna does not improve things, we will go after her in two years ... are you listening Anna?
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 09 9:56 PM
what is it? I read the ppers, I listen to the radio, I also noticed heavy contributions to her from the local PBA. All I've gotten in the mail was a very negative piece of literature of no real substance - and early in this campaign I contributed to her hoping for change.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Oct 28, 09 3:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) realizes -- now and finally -- that Linda Kabot dislikes the police and is out to destroy individual reputations of our police officers ... see what she plans for the police in Westhampton Beach -- a wholesale indictment of training, procedures, police management -- her court strategy is ... if shes tears down the police, she hopes to be re-elected by the people -- even as her DWI and the awful example she holds is so disreputed ...
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 09 10:02 PM
FYI the PBA contributed more than the legal amount. Check the BOE website and add up the PBA contributions..
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 4:06 PM
Explain what you are talking about WHB police a wholesale indictment of training, procedures, police management? Please explain.
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Oct 31, 09 5:57 PM
Maybe the board should consider underwriters/sponsors for each SEA-TV program.
By Bel (86), southampton on Oct 28, 09 11:22 PM
The choice is clear. The Town can fire forty-four employees and close the Town Animal Shelter, or it can RETIRE some of the 27 cops still on the payroll despite having passed their twenty year anniversary of service when they are contractually obligated to retire. Those cops cost the Town $3.6M/yr. If you deduct the cost of continuing the employment of those forty-four people from the cost of continuing the employment of the supercops, you still have $1.1M in hand.

There isn't a single ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 29, 09 2:58 AM
this is a police-hater
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 09 10:03 PM
There aren't enough cops on patrol on the east end of the Town as it is!!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Nov 1, 09 10:01 PM
Linda learned everything she knows from Skip...just ask her and she'll tell ya. She'll also tell ya that she'll pull out all the stops to win this election, regardless of who she has to trample along the way. And if she was really honest, she'd tell you that she can't lay off those people earning the big bucks who she and Skip put in patronage job positions over the past decade. So that means that union employees (and taxpayers) are going to get it in the neck. Did you notice her advertising? ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Oct 29, 09 2:17 PM
Sally Pope is a nice lady, but she's done little since getting in.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 29, 09 2:40 PM
Go take a look at the budget for yourselves: www.town.southampton.ny.us/2010Budget/

Dry reading, but informative. It's easy to see how fast costs mount up. An administrative salary of $75,000 - which is a pretty nice one - also costs the town another 16,370 in medical benefits, 5,737 in FICA, 5,175 in retirement and 1,622 in unspecified other benefits, all of which add up to $28,905 in total benefits, making a $103, 905 the real cost to the taxpayer for that one employee.

A CSEA ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 29, 09 2:36 PM
Chris Nuzzi is keeping quiet about all this. Regrettably, Chris Nuzzi's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if he didn't start it, Chris Nuzzi can make it stop, and he needs to do that, or we'll all think he's OK with this infantile cheating.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 29, 09 3:07 PM
How many times do you plan on copying and pasting this identical message to different threads. TB?

Who are those "Sign Dogs?" And how are you identifying them as acting on behalf of Chris Nuzzi?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 29, 09 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Regrettably, Sally Pope's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if she didn't start it, Sally can make it stop, and he needs to do that, or we'll all think she's OK with this infantile cheating.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 12:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Turkey Bridge
Take these signs that you are finding in the woods right to the DA's office for fingerprints. They are evidence in this sign stealing ring of thieves. Maybe your case will be heard before the election. Go now every minute you waist is another sign lost.
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Oct 29, 09 11:12 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tim Tanuka (38), Southampton on Oct 30, 09 10:32 PM
actually....all the signs are being stolen by cops (PBA members) on patrol....they are beind called by Anna Throne-Holst as to their exact location....together, they have a coordinated effort to steal her signs to make it look like the GOP is actually doing the deed.... b/c we know that they would never do such a thing....
By Tim Tanuka (38), Southampton on Oct 30, 09 10:35 PM