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Mar 17, 2010 12:53 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village mayor and police chief at odds over officers' secondary employment applications

Mar 17, 2010 12:53 PM

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley has taken a hard stance against Police Chief William Wilson’s decision to amend the village’s regulations regarding police officers’ second jobs, and he may end up fighting to overturn the chief’s actions.

Mr. Epley said he has reached out to the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany, an organization that conducts training and works to improve municipal administration, to find out if he and the Village Board have the power to reverse the chief’s decision. He has the support of at least two other Village Board members, Richard Yastrzemski and Bonnie Cannon, who agree that changing General Order 110 in such a way that the police will no longer be required to fill out applications for second job approval is a bad idea.

Last week, the chief said he was rescinding General Order 110, which he created in 2006. This week, he said he only amended it to eliminate any record of information about police officers’ second jobs.

“We’re trying to keep as much open government as possible,” Mr. Epley said. “I look at that general order ... it’s a hard order to rescind, because we have already set a standard, and now have stepped back from it.”

Ms. Cannon said that she thinks that the chief’s original process was a good one and that there are other, better methods of revising it if that’s what needs to be done.

Chief Wilson pulled the application component of General Order 110—which also limits the kind of work police officers can do—because he does not want any information about his officers and their second jobs to be made public. His actions came in the wake of requests made by The Southampton Press for secondary employment records.

Instead of formal written requests, the chief said he will rely on word-of-mouth and other “communications” to ensure that his officers are abiding by the village code of conduct and state and federal regulations while working a second job.

Chief Wilson said that Mr. Epley told him about the possibility of overriding the General Order 110 decision and that he has taken the mayor’s opinions into consideration. “But I still feel strongly about the use of the form because of what developed over the last several weeks,” the chief said. “Any decisions they make, I will abide by—the same with the FOIL request—but we’ll see how it develops. I have to worry about the personnel and the police department, and they worry about the village as a whole.”

An e-mail sent to NYCOM Executive Director Edward Baynes was not returned before deadline, and a woman who answered the phone at the organization’s offices said he was not available to speak on the phone.

Village Board member Paul Robinson, while emphasizing that he is an advocate for open government, said that he does not think the Village Board should try to “micromanage” the department. “I have thorough confidence in the chief, and I’m sure the chief has a reason for it,” he said.

Mr. Yastrzemski said that he understands Mr. Robinson’s point, but at the same time believes that it’s the village’s “due diligence” to look into whether or not it can override the chief.

Calls placed to Trustee Nancy McGann were not returned before deadline.

Chief Wilson implemented the change to General Order 110 right after he released the existing records to The Press early last week. The records contain the officers’ names and ranks, hours per week planned to work and the nature of the jobs they planned to have. The locations of the secondary employment and the employers’ names and phone numbers were redacted, in keeping with what New York State Committee on Open Government Executive Director Robert J. Freeman said is allowed by the state’s Open Records Law.

The Press first requested the documents in January and was denied access to them twice before an appeal to the full Village Board resulted in their release.

“It’s an invasion of privacy,” Village Police Captain Thomas Cummings said of the potential release of more information. Capt. Cummings helped Chief Wilson draft the rule requiring officers receive permission before working a side job in 2006. Capt. Cummings, who earns $140,979 per year with the Village Police, not including overtime or benefits, has two permits on file, one for private investigation work for up to 20 hours per week, and the other for security and law enforcement training, for less than 20 hours per week.

He noted that he has let his private investigator license lapse because it was too costly to maintain and said that he has hardly worked any jobs other than with the Southampton Village Police Department for the past two years—he only had the permits on file in case a job opportunity arises.

Capt. Cummings is also one of the principals of The Carlow Group, a security guard training corporation that is not very active, he said. The other principal is Rocky Point attorney Steven LoSquadro, who formerly served as the Southampton Village Patrolman’s Benevolent Association counsel. Mr. LoSquadro was recently replaced with Hauppauge attorney Dave Davis, Capt. Cummings said. Mr. LoSquadro and Capt. Cummings have known each other since sixth grade, the captain noted.

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I'm glad the Village Board is going to take this on. I don't believe where the officers are working is pertinent. Just how many hours and what line of work.

Also, I fail to see what the salaries of the officers mentioned has to do with anything.
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Mar 17, 10 7:49 PM
This all stems from one bad seed! Ridiculous bureaucratic bs that wastes taxpayer dollars.
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Mar 17, 10 9:56 PM
Now we will find out who is in charge in Southampton Village. Good time to sort out the lines of authority IMO.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 18, 10 7:52 AM
The flip side is all the responsibility. Not only for his actions, but the 33 people under him. Ultimately, he is accountable to the civilian leadership of the the Village.
By RemembertheDucks (54), Eastport on Mar 18, 10 10:09 AM
If the needless sensationalism of this article were not so pathetic it would be laughable. There is no conflict with the Village Board of Trustees and Chief. They are both doing what they are supposed to do, this is how government works, they should not (and will not) always agree.

The FOIL request was honored, and the records were turned over to the Press. Now, I ask you Mr. Editor, other than creating headlines to sell papers, what purpose does this entire convoluted episode serve? Were ...more
By K Aventi (33), Southampton on Mar 18, 10 10:34 AM
is the press going to answer this question?
By dee (14), southampton on Mar 19, 10 7:53 AM
I understand why Chief Wilson did what he did. It was knee jerk reaction. He is trying to protect his officers from being harassed by a disgruntled former employee. We all know who he is. However, if the chief had taken the time to listen to legal counsel he would have realized that a change in policy was not warranted. He can release, all the information that the press listed, nowhere in this information does it state where the officers are employed. Just the type of work and number of hours ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 18, 10 10:57 AM
Democracy in action.

Freedom Shall Prevail !

OUR Freedom of Speech and Press was intended by our Founding Fathers to be rough-cut and imprecise. Rooting out possible wrong-doing may dig up some dirt, or not, but "dig we must."

The Press is protecting us all by their FOIL request.

This is by design, don't you realize?

Freedom Shall Prevail.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 18, 10 7:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've been hearing about secondary employment and village cops for years. It's just that this time the PD isn't as succesfull in covering up this scandal. Yes, it is a scandal when you see cops in police cars checking the property of their clients, running security jobs, etc. I mean really, $150,000 a year and these guys are crying poverty? Wilson doesn't care about his guys, he is just doesnt have the ability to deal with this so he thinks by overturning the general order it will just go away.
By DP377k (19), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 9:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Deal with what exactly? WORKING a SECOND JOB is NOT ILLEGAL! There is NOTHING that Wilson or the Village Board can do about it! Get Over it and STOP your crying!!
By March Madness (7), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 10:22 AM
Working a second job is certainly not illegal and I comment those who do in an honest & ethical way. The officers are paid by tax dollars. I believe if you were a homeowner in the Village of Southampton you might care a little too if there was reason to believe that the officers were working their side job while on duty.
By NorthSea (10), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 3:42 PM
*Commend (excuse me)
By NorthSea (10), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 3:58 PM
Who's crying? I didn't say anything about the legality. I said it is a scandal, not that it was illegal. Believe it or not, something can be done about cops working a second job. Just wait and see.
By DP377k (19), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 2:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
please explain why having a second job is a scandal. what is the big deal having two jobs? It has been done MANY years and if it was interferring with thier work then something would be done about it. People just need to mind thier own business.
By dee (14), southampton on Mar 19, 10 2:58 PM
Sure, I’ll happily explain the potential scandal in having a second job.. The SHVPD’s officers make 74-150K per year (many with zero college education) There are quite a few officers that have second jobs as house watchers & security. Many of their clients are located within the seven square miles they get paid 74-150K to patrol. The officers are paid by tax dollars. The potential scandal is the officers working their second jobs while getting paid by the Village. 10-4?
By Justice (4), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 3:26 PM
"just wait and see"...

What, are you four years old?
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 7:18 PM
Sorry...This was for DP377k
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 7:20 PM
why don't you do a little research before you make your comments. There are not that many police officers with "zero college education" - and even if there was these men and women have worked hard to get these jobs. they went through intense training. Now as for the "officers working thier second jobs while getting paid by the village" where is the proof?
By dee (14), southampton on Mar 19, 10 8:26 PM
You can make Patrol, Sergeant and even Chief at the SHVDP without any college education. The ones who did get an education probably learned how to spell “their & interfering”.
By NSea (10), Southampton on Mar 22, 10 3:09 PM
What proof is there that anyone is doing anything wrong at all? There is a potential for conflict for just about everyone who has more then 1 job. If there is proof that someone is doing something wrong then why has it not been brought up until today?
There is no conflict here, no scandal. The only conflicts and scandals going on here are the ones made up by the Press and the 12 people that comment on all of their stories. This is America and if someone has the will and the ability to make ...more
By March Madness (7), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 5:50 PM
The Southampton Village PD has many officers with advanced college degrees, Doctorates, Jurist Doctorates, Masters, Bachelor’s, etc… I am sure that if they were compared to other departments they would average more college degrees than most. You don’t know what you are talking about.

The idea that their secondary employment effects their ‘on-duty’ time is incorrect. Every time I drive by them in the Village they have someone pulled over, they can’t be that tired… Read the police reports ...more
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 6:53 PM
Our society condones athletes playing ‘games’ making tens of millions of dollars a year. If we, as a people, had any sense it would be the military, police and firefighters making that money! When was the last time you heard of a ‘sports celebrity’ saving a life. (other than Tillman) We are a joke to the world…
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 7:13 PM
Yes, Wait and see.
Talk about 4 yrs old. What are you still in awe when you see lights and hear sirens? When is the last time you read about a Village cop saving a life?

That is commical.
Either way, what does that have to do with the issue?
By DP377k (19), Southampton on Mar 20, 10 2:14 PM
In public service there is the (generally) accepted principal of disclosing non-govt. sources of income / outside employment (as well as political activities) in order to avoid the appearance of improprietary / conflict of interests. It is very simple and straight forward and it can be accomplished without jepordizing any officer's safety. We hold our public servants to a high standard of conduct; disclosure of outside sources of income is a basic and necessary step in demonstrating that standard ...more
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Mar 19, 10 11:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
i read this and threw up.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Mar 20, 10 8:36 AM
The very fact that police officers earn upwards of $200,000 (salary and benefits) in a tiny, virtually crime-free village, is laughable The fact that they have enough free time on their hands to put in 20, 30, 40 hours AT SECOND JOBS, is insane.

I'm all for safety and protection but enough is enough. This is where our taxes go.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Mar 20, 10 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
All police officers in Nassau/Suffolk Counties earn these salaries, insane or not. The tiny “crime free” community in which you refer (and I reside) has a raging narcotics issue, burglaries, and every other aspect of crime that faces society. Over 600 arrests made by a 30 person police department and you have the unadulterated gall to comment on the people who deal with what you and I could not...Now that’s insane…
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 20, 10 9:43 AM
Cmon, get serious. this area has incredibly low crime rates - a murder every 2 or 3 years, a few drug busts here and there. But don't trust me, do the math:

600 arrests by 30 cops is 20 arrests per officer... that's what cops would do in a DAY in big cities and even in other parts of Suffolk.

Everyone out here is coasting. Police, teachers, the supervisors - they all make huge salaries for part-time work, which is why we have a huge deficit in one of the richest communities ...more
By littleplains (305), olde england on Mar 20, 10 1:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is America, where our founding fathers encouraged entrepreneurship and commerce. They fought against a tyrannical empire whose intention was to stymie individual freedoms. As long as municipal employees fulfill their obligation to the taxpayers, they have the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to work at other employment!
By K Aventi (33), Southampton on Mar 20, 10 10:21 AM
thanks for making my point: their obligations as municipal employees are so minimal and easy that they have all this time on their hands to work second and third jobs. It's not the cops' fault for taking advantage of the system; it's our fault for allowing our elected leaders to set such easy work rules.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Mar 20, 10 1:30 PM
There obviously is a much larger issue here. It is becoming very clear here and elsewhere that due to the economic stress of the recession many of these municipal benefits may not be cost effective and taxpayers are beginning to wake up to this reality. I think many taxpayers have been unaware of what these services really cost. Just a thought.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 21, 10 5:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think the truth will come out when the real overtime amounts are used instead of base pay--40 hour weeks for $100,000+ base salaries + the Overtime + the 2nd and 3rd jobs--this is all leading up to new contract negotiations where the municipalities will try to get productivity rules established. Its like the dispute the County Supervisor Levy had with the State Police--they don't give out tickets on the highway and has the world collapsed? No, accident rates actually went down.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Mar 22, 10 6:09 PM
Regarding overtime, you can presumably add in SHV PD officers being part of the ten-municipality, 90-officer presence at the Montauk St. Patrick's Day parade yesterday.

Amazing!

Was a SWAT team in place too?

An article on this has been posted on the web site of a certain weekly paid-circulation newspaper which is published east of Southampton. It is however against the rules here to post a link to that site.

No wonder our taxes are so high.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 22, 10 6:36 PM

Reichel v Water Auth., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 283 A.D.2d 475

Certain employees of the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) also maintained private businesses that offered plumbing services to homeowners. Such services included the installation of water service lines from private property to the water main at the edge of the street.

Although SCWA inspects and approves such installations, it does not itself perform this service.
In response to SCWA's request for an informal ...more
By PBA (14), Southampton on Mar 22, 10 6:48 PM
The problem with the SCWA case cited along with this article is that no consideration is made to the fact that Taylor Law and NYS Binding Arbitration are applicable to police officers. Any change to their current collective bargaining agreement or unilateral change in working conditions will undoubtedly result in costly litigation that the Village will lose based on previous case law.

Frankly, the SCWA case is overly simplistic in its view of secondary employment, and would not be appropriate ...more
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 23, 10 11:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
The fact that Police salaries on the Island are so high is because of the Taylor Law; a very smart Nassau County Attorney in the late 1970's and 1980's skillfully whipsawed arbitrator's awards beginning with Nassau County police, then taking the Suffolk County police to arbitration and getting what Nassau got plus a little more - and repeating the process. The Town and Village police unions followed suit. Police compensation has nothing to do with productivity or anything else. Yes, they should ...more
By diogenes (57), westhampton on Mar 23, 10 5:07 PM
So is this about salaries or officers working side jobs? I find that no one really appreciates what police officers do until they need one. Even in the village of Southampton with its low crime rate. I suppose some would like to reduce the size of the force to that of the May Berry PD.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 25, 10 12:10 PM
Compared to Police departments elsewhere these salaries are unbelievable. Just go south of Wash. DC and see for yourself. The entire system in NY and vicinity is out of control and it is up to the taxpayers to control these costs even if it means disbanding something that has become a luxury like a Village PD. This State is so crazy that it passed anti-taxpayer laws such as the Taylor Law to protect such atrocities. It is time that our elected leaders repeal these crazy laws and bring sanity back ...more
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 27, 10 10:51 PM
See new article above for April Fools Day.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Apr 2, 10 6:58 PM