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Mar 9, 2011 1:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Police Officer Will Forfeit 20 Days Pay

Mar 9, 2011 1:06 PM

“Over a year ago, we could have all sat down without attorneys and discussed everything, but it never got to that,” she said. “So, we are where we are today. I’m just looking forward to moving forward.”

If an officer is still facing charges following an unpaid suspension, that officer will continue to be suspended, with pay, until they are resolved, according to Richard Zuckerman, the village’s labor attorney. He declined to specifically comment on Officer Pesapane.

“Anytime during the process, the employer has the right to suspend the employee with pay, but can only suspend without pay for 30 days,” Mr. Zuckerman said. “The employer has the right to say, ‘While you are undergoing disciplinary charges, I don’t want you here.’”

The best result for an officer facing disciplinary charges is for him to be found innocent on all counts, meaning that he can return to work and collect all withheld pay. If he is found guilty of even one charge, an officer cannot lay claim to any lost pay but could return to work, though a letter of reprimand would be included on his permanent record. The worst-case scenario for an officer found guilty of a charge is termination, according to Mr. Zuckerman.

Westhampton Beach Village Police Officer Michael Bruetsch—the second officer suspended, with pay, since July for his alleged role in the 2009 incident—was charged with three counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer and five counts of lying by outside investigators. Officer Bruetsch’s disciplinary hearing, which also began in August, is scheduled to reconvene on Monday, March 14, according to Mayor Teller. Officer Bruetsch, who makes about $97,800 a year, was suspended for 30 days last year without pay.

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I hear that target is hiring, maybe these clowns can go work there....
By Clarity (65), Whb on Mar 8, 11 6:39 PM
Unbelievable, these are the people we are supposed to look up to. Now we find out that they are lying like the criminals they arrest! Shame on you both, the heck with suspension without pay YOU BOTH SHOULD BE FIRED!! Without any question!
By johnnyhampton (82), Southampton on Mar 8, 11 8:42 PM
Besides the obvious point that this officer should be terminated, Aren't these salaries way out of line ? OMG !
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Mar 9, 11 10:39 AM
Are you kidding me! Suspended with pay since July and Pesapane is making $104,000 a year and Bruetsch is making $117,000 a year. That is totally outrageous an excessive pay for a village this size. At most they should be making $35,000 - $40,000 for a village this size and that may even be a lot. No wonder taxes in NY are so high. allowing these outrageous salaries to police officers in a village,, come on,,, the Chief should only be making $50,000..
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Mar 9, 11 11:52 AM
The genesis of this whole series of suspensions, un-suspensions and re-suspensions seems goofy. Like a practical joke that got out of hand and had consequences out of all proportion to the misdeed. (I really don't know the specifics other than the edited version that has appeared in the Press.)

If that WAS the origin (i.e. a harmless practical joke) rather than an act with malicious intent, I hope the officers don't lose their jobs as a result.

The salary matter is a separate ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Mar 9, 11 12:37 PM
More people went to jail than were involved in the original break-in at the Watergate complex -- it was the cover-up, and that involved perjury.

Seems to me the same thing here.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Mar 9, 11 5:19 PM
The article states that the police officer is accused of lying to Internal Affairs. A serious charge which will follow the police officer forever and ruin his credibility as a police officer. The investigation and hearing apparently revealed that the officer did lie. Mr. Tucker votes to punish the police officer and put the black mark on his record but then says he was not the jury and does not agree with the process? He certianly was the jury, he found the officer guilty, voted to punish him ...more
By silverbeaver666 (8), westhampton on Mar 11, 11 8:27 AM
i agree with silverbeaver..im confused by tuckers comments. if he didnt like something then why didnt he vote no???????
By southfork11960 (14), Southampton on Mar 11, 11 2:11 PM