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Aug 15, 2012 11:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Continues To Weigh Fate Of Police Protection In Light of Contract Dispute

Aug 15, 2012 11:28 AM

As Sag Harbor Village and its police department await arbitration over an ongoing contract dispute, Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride told the Village Board on Tuesday night that he is continuing conversations with larger, neighboring law enforcement agencies about the possibility of their providing police protection in Sag Harbor.

The issue is turning into a point of contention.

The mayor pointed to rising costs and state-level efforts to combine government resources as possible reasons for entering into an inter-municipal agreement with another agency.

He said he has met with Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr., as well as submitted letters to East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Southampton Town Supervisor Anna 
Throne-Holst, and that there has been interest on their side 
about providing two police cars to Sag Harbor every day of the year.

“The bottom line is it’s roughly 33 percent of our budget,” Mr. Gilbride said of the Police Department. “I started out not wanting to go down this road. I continue not wanting to go down this road, but these costs are getting to a point where we have to take a hard look.”

He continued, “All of this talk about abolishing the department, I have been very vocal that I don’t want to do that.”

Village Trustee Tim Culver said the talk does not have to do with the PBA contract. “It’s a question of allocation of resources and what’s the most efficient way of doing that.”

But Village Police Chief Thomas Fabiano, on the other hand, took the podium at the same meeting to lament otherwise.

“I’ve been here 35 years in July. It’s disheartening to hear someone saying we want to abolish the Police Department,” Chief Fabiano said, adding that he thinks what the village force provides the village far surpasses what could be provided by outside agencies.

“You say it doesn’t have anything to do with contracts or anything like that, but for 35 years, I’ve been through a lot of mayors and a lot of trustees, and when it came to a contract that nobody agreed upon … when times get hard, they say let’s get rid of these guys,” he said. “It really hurts me to see you doing this.”

He also noted that it seemed the resulting atmosphere was turning people against the police department—a point with which Mr. Gilbride disagreed.

The mayor said he would discuss specific figures in executive session.

The chief left the podium saying, “Whatever you guys want. It doesn’t matter, 35 years.”

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Not about the contract? It seems there was no talk of dissolving PD before contract dispute started. What a strange coincidence.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Aug 15, 12 8:51 PM
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