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Mar 3, 2010 12:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village releases some secondary employment information

Mar 3, 2010 12:05 PM

Southampton Village Police Chief William Wilson has agreed to release secondary employment records for police officers dating back to 2007, in response to a Freedom of Information Law request filed by The Southampton Press.

The chief last week provided copies of the requests for secondary employment filed since 2008, when he had changed department policy to require them to be submitted on an annual basis. He redacted some information, based on an opinion by the State Committee on Open Government saying that the department could withhold information identifying where the officers would be employed, to protect their safety. But other information also was redacted, including the number of hours the officers wanted to work at other jobs.

The Press has asked that some of the redacted information be provided as well. The village may be turning over more information in the near future but is discussing the issue with its attorney, Richard DePetris of Southampton, Mayor Mark Epley said.

The Press received copies of the secondary employment requests late last week after having earlier been denied access to the documents. They show that eight members of the police department—officers and superior officers—applied for and were granted permission to work second jobs. Three sought side employment in the security field and one to work on developing and maintaining law enforcement software systems. Others were cleared to do a variety of work from painting to property management.

Village officials previously refused to release the secondary employment information citing myriad reasons, including the threat of a lawsuit by the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association if the information was disclosed, concerns about what might be done with the information, and insistence that the information was a protected personnel matter. The Press appealed to the Village Board to release the records last week and, after the board’s work session, Chief Wilson handed over copies of the employment forms with several sections of it blacked out.

Although Chief Wilson had argued that releasing the information would violate civil service law, the forms the officers must fill out clearly states: “Secondary employment information is public and may be disclosed to third parties.”

Chief Wilson has said he would not release any more information without a court order or a Village Board resolution. Mr. DePetris said that he has not yet made a decision on whether to release more information on the requests to The Press.

“Until today, I thought the issue may be moot,” Mr. DePetris said, explaining that he thought The Press would be satisfied with the first disclosure.

Jessica DiNapoli

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What exactly is the point of all this? Is this really news? For Pete's sake, almost every local has a second job.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 3, 10 3:58 PM
Its just the Press trying to create problems and create a story. They have nothing else t report on so why not try to create some tensions and write about it. They have absolutly no use for this information. Shame on you SH Press!
By courtesy (43), Southampton on Mar 3, 10 6:12 PM
The point of the Press's FOIL request will be made clear AFTER Chief Wilson and Village release the PUBLIC documents. As the editorial from last Thursday's Press made quite clear, anyone requesting documents under FOIL by definition does not know what the content of the request is. That is the point of the request!

Please read the editorial, which Brenday O'Reilly posted last week. The Press is serving us admirably. It is their right AND DUTY to ferret out dark documents.

Freedom ...more
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 3, 10 6:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
PS -- These are OUR documents. They are public documents!

There is no right to privacy about second jobs. Chief Wilson's own form states this, apparently!

Freedom Shall Prevail.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 3, 10 6:50 PM
The only reason why you want them Chris is to harrass these employees at their other jobs and try to get back to Southampton Village for firing you.
By courtesy (43), Southampton on Mar 3, 10 10:11 PM
Most excellent example of the First Amendment in action. Remember my fellow Americans, its the First Amendment, not the 10th or 30th or 85th Amendment. Let's get this info for the highly paid detectives and officers on the Southampton Town Police payroll as well.

Keep pushing! And knowing who pays the bills of the people empowered to arrest citizens is an important press investigation. Makes me proud to be an American--Defend the Constitution!
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Mar 4, 10 5:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why is everyone sooo nosey? I don't see any of you posting where you work how much you make, if you have a second job where that is and the payment earned. Why don't you just post your social security number and name so we can all do backround checks and see your income and if you pay your taxes. It's bad enough big brother exists. People no matter who you work for are entitled to some sort of privacy. Just worry about yoursef and not whats going on in the yard nextdoor. It's not always greener. ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Mar 4, 10 8:09 AM
What expectation of privacy can there be when Chief Wilson's own form states:

“Secondary employment information is public and may be disclosed to third parties.”

???

All SVPD officers who filled out this form knew in advance that the information is PUBLIC!

Also, this FOIL request pertains only to PUBLIC employees (whose primary jobs are funded by our tax dollars), so any comparisons to jobs in the private sector are not germane IMO.
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 4, 10 12:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Obvoiusly "lifesaver" can't distinguish between what police offers are accountable for and what ordinary citizens are accountable for. More important she can't dis-
tinguish WHY police officers have to disclose what other source of employment they have. Read my lips: POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST, not to mention that police officers are paid by the public and the public is not paid by the public.
The idea of "some sort of privacy" doesn't cover it. Learn the distinctions
By Phanex (83), Southampton on Mar 4, 10 1:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Make it every person paid with public money should have to disclose second employment and be accountable not just cops lets include teachers. We let them spend time with our kids. What are they doing in their time off from school? That's the group you should be worried about.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Mar 5, 10 12:10 AM
Lifesaver:
Just because someone is a public employee does not not give us the right to know everything about them. When teachers are off from school that is their time, no need for anyone to now what they are doing.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 5, 10 12:48 AM
Bayman1:
So wait we need to know what cops are doing in their time off but, NOT teachers. So I guess your kids aren't important to you?
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Mar 5, 10 7:39 AM
"So I guess your kids aren't important to you?"I don't think that is the question here lifesaver. And why the implication that they are doing something that we would want to know about or should know about? We don't need to know what cops, teachers, fireman, sewer operators, toll collectors or any other public employee is doing in their off duty time, Their time is exactly that, their time.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 5, 10 9:40 AM
You didn't read my initial comment on this story. I don't care what people do in their time off. That's their business. I was commenting on PHANEX who seems to think that the police department is on her personal payroll and she is entitled to know what they are doing. I was pointing out to her that teachers are also paid by the public but, don't see her demanding what they do in their time off. That's it nothing else. I was mearly trying to make a point.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Mar 5, 10 11:00 AM
You are right, I did not read your initial comment. Had I read it I would have interpreted your posts differently. I see your point, thank you for the clarification.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 5, 10 3:03 PM
A denied request by a rather vindictive former employee has turned into a constitutional issue? This has nothing to do with the public's right to know and everything to do with one mans personal grudge against the department. Prior to this request being denied, NO ONE cared what these officers did on their own time. Now all of a sudden its a burning issue. Wouldn't it be nice if someone could be sued just for being a pain in the buttocks.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 4, 10 1:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
pstevens,

You are kidding right? To quote you:

"Wouldn't it be nice if someone could be sued just for being a pain in the buttocks."

Yes, that is the way they used to do it in the former USSR, except they did not sue the offending person, they just killed her as they saw fit, and no one ever got to know about it. There were no FOIL laws on the books!

We live in The United States of America. We have a Constitution, and many other laws on the federal and state levels.

We ...more
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 4, 10 2:02 PM
No I'm not kidding. NO ONE CARED what these officers were doing on their OWN time UNTIL the FOIL requests were denied. Now all of sudden people are debating constitutional rights, and the public's need to know. The person who started this whole mess did so to be a pain in the buttocks. So yes it would be nice if you could take someone to court for being a pain in the buttocks. How much money as this person cost the village with his lawsuits? He continues to stir the pot and people continue to ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 5, 10 2:11 PM
For goodness sake, release the records and respond to the anticipated PBA suit. Virtually no action that limits the perquisites of the cops can be taken without the PBA suing so we might as well get over it. Likewise, in Southampton Town, retire the superannuated cops and respond to the PBA & State Assn. of PBAs suit. And, in Westhampton Beach, if the reason for returning two cops to duty is really a fear of the cost of the disciplinary hearing, bite the bullet and do the right thing.

If ...more
By highhatsize (4028), East Quogue on Mar 4, 10 4:22 PM
If the PBA sues over this, IMO they will be whacked for attorneys fees and punitive damages. Chief Wilson's form regarding secondary jobs specifically states that the information is public and may be disclosed (assuming the article above has reported this correctly).

The officers with second jobs have signed off on this as far as any privacy issues are concerned. Chief Wilson is in the clear to release the documents vis a vis the PBA.

The PBA may have a theoretical privacy issue ...more
By PBR (4917), Southampton on Mar 4, 10 4:52 PM
You may never need to FOIL documents from Village Government or the Police Department in your lifetime. Now you can. You should consider thanking the Southampton Press as often as you may criticize them for taking a position on an important issue. The FOIL Law is a shining example of how our county views a free press and the availability of information to the press. Consider all the effort that was involved in denying the request in the first place and ask yourself what is worth so much that has ...more
By PBA (14), Southampton on Mar 4, 10 10:51 PM
I do not believe for a minute that the Village would have allowed to PD to withhold the information. The Chief is doing what leaders are supposed to do, look out for their troops. If any negative information becomes known, so be it. The idea that persons employed by government should have less privacy then you or I is ludicrous. They are well compensated for their service, all jealousy aside, do you really believe they are less entitled to earn than we do?

Now, let us see what is done with ...more
By K Aventi (33), Southampton on Mar 5, 10 9:26 AM
1 member liked this comment

Why a seeming huge conspiracy of resistant public officials paid by the public to serve the public in Southampton Village to prevent public documents from being seen by the rightful eyes of the public demanding to see them? What is there to hide, fellows?

As Marcellus said, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"!



By Common Sense (56), Southampton on Mar 5, 10 5:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
" A seeming huge conspiracy"...... to who Common Sense?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 7, 10 12:08 PM

Bayman, I firmly believe that you are much brighter than that question indicates.

Your posts just indicate you will attack any suggestion that the cops can possibly commit the slightest action that that can prevent their beatification by the Pope - even while they are still alive, even as they overstay beyond their 20 years, costing embattled taxpayers millions of dollars, year after year.
By Common Sense (56), Southampton on Mar 7, 10 4:02 PM
Common Sense:
My previous post indicates that I have asked a simple question. Care to answer it?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 7, 10 6:31 PM
If it was legal for the Town Board to remove officers from their employment after completion of their twentieth year of service I’m sure they would. Constantly repeating the same line over and over will not make it happen. They will never release them for fear of litigation, and guess what the cops will win (in this case anyway) you can’t arbitrarily remove them after the twentieth year for about a dozen legal issues. And, there are reams of pages of case law on the State and Federal level to prove ...more
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 8, 10 5:00 PM
Taxraven:
What are you talking about?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 8, 10 6:11 PM
The position that the Town can terminate officers upon the completion of their twentieth year of service, as posted above by Hat Size.

Off topic, I know.
By taxraven (26), Southampton on Mar 8, 10 6:15 PM
Well said, but I think you have the wrong article taxraven
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 8, 10 6:47 PM