Take That Back - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1782265

Take That Back

This evening, I watched the Southampton Village Board session with Edmund Hartnett. During the meeting, Hartnett addressed the Village Board directly, bringing to light glaring discrepancies between the report he was hired to conduct and the released version that was altered to meet a political agenda [“Consultant Refutes Task Force Criticism Of Southampton Village Police Attributed To His Firm,” 27east.com, May 19].

During the meeting, Hartnett did not cater to the task force hand-picked by the mayor to spew his destructive rhetoric. I was not surprised when Hartnett himself was shocked that the task force twisted his words throughout the released report. Hartnett is a well-respected, experienced and nonpartisan investigator who was hired to assess Southampton Village Police Department operations from an objective viewpoint. It is under this guise that the mayor twisted the report to advance his own motives.

In fact, it is the first time Hartnett had come across such a heinous issue in the thousands of reports he has completed throughout his career. It is the first time he has experienced a nonofficial body getting access to the briefing prior to the elected officials. Trustee Gina Arresta attempted to justify the task force’s actions. Gina, there is absolutely no justification for this.

The task force’s version of the report must be stricken from the record. Mayor Jesse Warren and Trustee Arresta need to resign for trying to twist an official report document in order to further their own agenda. It is important to note that the official report led by Hartnett was paid for with taxpayer money, who deserve the full, correct and official report.

Additionally, a formal investigation needs to be conducted into the false claims and misinformation added by the members of the task force. Forgery has been committed in altering the report published under Hartnett’s name without his approval and consent. My hypothesis is that the “information” was provided largely by one or more disgruntled ex-Southampton Village Police Department officers. To quote Trustee Arresta, “You take that back.”

In addition to calls for the Southampton Village Police Department, the SVPD dispatch covers all fire calls and EMS calls from the eastern Hampton Bays line to the western East Hampton line to the southern Sag Harbor line. This encompasses three fire departments and two EMS departments and totals over 80,000 calls and 180,000 transmissions a year. Not 1.5 per hour.

Also, in regards to the overtime fees in question, Mayor Warren did not hire three replacement dispatchers that were budgeted for. This sent overtime skyrocketing.

Another issue — nepotism. Mayor Warren pushed for Chief Thomas Cummings’s son to be hired, not the chief. He can’t hire anyone, only the “CEO of the village” can.

Jesse, you’ve gotta go.

Christopher Gaynor