The Buck Stops Here - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2252592

The Buck Stops Here

Bill Manger’s recent Viewpoint [“Carter Was the Best Choice for Village Administrator,” Opinion, May 9] erroneously links me to the hiring and compensation decisions regarding Village Administrator Anthony Carter, necessitating both a correction and a response.

Leadership involves accountability, transparency and integrity, not assigning blame or distorting history, as exemplified by President Harry Truman’s famous quote, “The buck stops here.”

First, the record must be set straight about the hiring of Carter at a staggering $225,000 per year. Unlike his predecessors, Carter has not been tasked with the responsibilities of treasurer, although preparing the village’s budget is a key duty of the administrator, per Southampton Village Law, Chapter 3.

Second, the search was remarkably brief, lasting less than two weeks, and was curiously tailored to suit Carter by specifying “police experience” as a requirement — a criterion not previously deemed necessary for this role, as The Southampton Press has pointed out. This move disregarded more qualified candidates in financial and municipal management, not due to their unavailability but because of a predetermined decision.

Third, Manger’s rationale for Carter’s hiring, particularly his supposed necessity for negotiating upcoming police contracts, is baseless. It is well known that our village employs a labor attorney for over $200,000 annually to manage such negotiations. If Carter’s expertise was necessary, he could have served as a consultant rather than an overly compensated administrator.

Moreover, given that parts of police contracts are subject to binding arbitration under New York State’s Taylor Law, the urgency claimed for his “expertise” is even more dubious.

Alarmingly, Manger pursued a 211 waiver for Carter, which, if granted, would enable him to draw both his $120,000 annual pension and a $225,000 salary, totaling a staggering $345,000 in compensation.

Manger’s desire that Carter collect his pension on top of this salary demonstrates a complete disregard for taxpayer money and the community’s actual needs. Under Manger’s direction, there’s now a record $2 million increase in spending and over a $1 million increase in taxes.

But it is even more concerning how easily he certified the waiver document, under penalty of perjury, affirming that Carter was the sole qualified candidate in Suffolk County of 1.5 million people. This false claim severely undermines any pretense of a fair and open hiring process, posing a substantial ethical concern.

The administration’s decision to provide Carter a $50,000 raise and a $25,000 retroactive payment with minimal notice shows a blatant disregard for the stewardship of public funds — a situation that may interest the State Comptroller’s Office. To this end, I plan to seek an advisory opinion.

Leadership is not about shifting blame but facing challenges head-on and prioritizing the community’s interests. I remain dedicated to these values and urge current officials to embody them as well.

Jesse Warren

Southampton Village

Warren is the former mayor of Southampton Village — Ed.