Finally, a Chief - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2062882

Finally, a Chief

This Christmas, Southampton Village residents can rest easy, knowing that they finally have a new permanent police chief. In a special meeting held on December 12, in a 4-1 vote, Village Board members hired Anthony Carter of the Suffolk County Police Department, with the mayor voting no [“Southampton Village Hires New Police Chief Over Objections of Mayor,”, December 12].

Unfortunately, Carter will not be assuming his new position until March 2023 pending his passing the chief examination. Nevertheless, action has finally been taken.

Personally, as a former trustee, I find it mortifying that it took 18 contentious months to find a new police chief for the village, when it only took town officials a matter of weeks to find a replacement for the late Chief Steven Skrynecki.

In the end, Mayor Jesse Warren voted no to Carter, adding insult to his indecisiveness. There were steps that Mayor Warren could have taken to avoid this 18-month lapse. He could have spared everyone his search committee, which shifted the burden of vetting candidates onto trustees and several community members, and which proved inconsequential in the end. Seemingly arbitrary roadblocks were just a few of my concerns when I served as a trustee.

Furthermore, according to 27East, Chief Carter will be paid $225,000 a year for five years. But wait: Wasn’t that the salary of former chief Thomas Cummings in 2021? Huh? Back to the future? What was gained by the long delay?

I was not only ignored when, as the trustee who oversaw the police department, I advocated for time, for a window of transition of leadership to evaluate the impact and possible legal consequences of succession that would be taking place in the police department. When I dared to abstain from voting, I was vilified, shunned, denied access to information to do my job, and then hit with a ridiculous “ethics” charge, which the mayor now finds uncomfortable to discuss.

Through it all, Suzanne Hurteau provided steadfast leadership as acting chief over the past uncertain 18 months, and I welcome her promotion to captain. All good wishes to her and Chief Carter, and I wish them success and support in their new positions.

Joseph R. McLoughlin