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Oct 28, 2009 2:09 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town approves early retirement plan for senior workers

Editor's Note: This story has been altered to reflect the correction of an error introduced in editing. The program may cost the town $100,000 to $573,000 next year, not save it that amount.
Oct 28, 2009 2:09 PM

An early retirement program for senior town workers that reportedly could save more than half a million dollars next year was approved by the Southampton Town Board on Tuesday evening.

Proposed by Supervisor Linda Kabot, the “retirement incentive program” 
will offer money to longtime employees of retirement age in the hopes some of them will accept and reduce the 
town’s payroll expenses. Eligible employees, those who have worked for the 
town for 10 or more years, will receive $500 for each of the years they were employed by Southampton. The incentive is being offered to both union and non-union workers, excluding elected officials and police officers. “This is not targeting any specific employee,” Ms. Kabot cautioned.

The Town Board voted unanimously to enact the program at its meeting Tuesday night.

According to the resolution, the retirement incentive offers must be 
accepted by January 1, 2010, and the retirements effective by June 30, 2010. 
The town reserves the right to cancel the program if fewer than 20 people participate.

Based on the number of eligible employees, Ms. Kabot estimates the program could save the town between $100,000 and $573,000 next year.

SEA-TV Evicted

A university can be a harsh landlord.

Stony Brook Southampton is asking Southampton Town’s public access television station to move out of its headquarters on campus because the school needs the space for administrative offices.

The university notified town officials this summer that they have until December 31 to move the television station, which broadcasts educational programs and local government meetings. The station has been at the Southampton campus since its first broadcast in 2004.

Stony Brook Southampton spokesman Darren Johnson said the rapidly growing university needed the station’s 700-square-foot room, which is located in the campus technology center.

As a result, the Town Board unanimously approved a new two-year lease agreement with Bridgehampton Industrial Pk. LTD for the station to move to a space on Trademans Path in Bridgehampton. The space will 
cost $1,100 a month plus utilities, according to the resolution.

The development coincides with the expected end-of-year move by WLIU 88.3 FM from the Stony Brook Southampton campus, but Mr. Johnson said that was unrelated to the decision to ask SEA-TV to leave.

“Space has been at a premium, especially now that we’ve grown from 200 students to 500 students,” Mr. Johnson said. “We’ve been reclaiming spaces whenever possible.”

At least one station employee was less than thrilled about the forced move.

SEA-TV Director Bruce Nalepinski said he repeatedly offered to give university students on-the-job training in television production. He said university administrators first agreed to the idea before doing an about-face in July and asking the station to leave.

“I’m disappointed,” Mr. Nalepinski said. “In the middle of July they changed their minds 180 degrees and said let’s get these guys out of there. The honest truth is, I think everybody in the town was surprised by the university’s behavior.”

Mr. Johnson said on-job-training for students at the Southampton campus was not likely since no communication and media courses are offered there.

“Our plan is to not duplicate majors that are currently at the main campus,” Mr. Johnson said.

Still, Mr. Nalepinski said the decision was especially striking since the TV station had broadcast numerous 
campus events including lectures, deans’ speeches and Earth Day celebrations.

“I spent a lot of time and money covering their events, but it obviously didn’t translate,” Mr. Nalepinski said. “I didn’t get the impression that the university appreciated us being there at all. They didn’t care.”

Nonetheless, Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, the Town Board’s liaison to SEA-TV, offered a different take on the situation.

“They’ve been very cordial with us and we are grateful for that,” she said. “We understand that they will be needing the facilities for their mission and [SEA-TV] unfortunately doesn’t coincide with their mission.”

New Terms

The Southampton Town Board will hear debate over the term lengths of Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals members at public hearings on November 24.

Current limits for the boards are two terms of seven years, with maximum of 14 years. Councilman Christopher Nuzzi is proposing four-year terms for the boards. However, Councilwoman Nancy Graboski is proposing five-year terms.

Both proposals would reduce the overall length board members could serve since town code allows only a maximum of two terms. Under Mr. Nuzzi’s proposal, board members would serve a maximum of eight years. Ms. Graboski’s proposal would allow 10 years.

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Realpolitik at work in Southampton. The supercops will be given at least $10K apiece to accept retirement without storming Town Hall.

This is an early retirement incentive for all other town employees but for the supercops, who where supposed to retire years ago, it is nothing but a bribe.

The cost of the money saved is too high. A timorous Town Council has bowed before intimidation and insubordination. It is not a lesson that the cops will forget.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 28, 09 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
highhat - by supcops do you mean those who are non-union (are there any)? I agree with your position you have stated about the continued employment of 20+ year officers but I was under the impression police officers were excluded.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Oct 28, 09 3:53 PM
whats a "Supercop" ?
By nicole (96), Hampton Bays on Oct 28, 09 7:10 PM
To North of Highway:

You are right. I could swear that the article originally said, "including", police officers but I apparently misread it.

The link, "http://www.town.southampton.ny.us/2009Budget/2010-TENT-town-police.pdf", doesn't work anymore. (This is the link that shows the incredible salaries of the 27 supercops.)

To nicole:

"Supercops", are cops who are still on the Town payroll years after they should have retired according to their contract.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 29, 09 2:47 AM
Chris Nuzzi wants to shorten Board terms. 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 3:04 PM
Sally Pope wants to...... Oh wait she hasn't offered any cost saving ideas.
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 Pope can make it stop, and she 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 4:09 PM