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Police Overtime Money Drained on Irene, Detectives, Additional Sector

Following $250,000 request for police overtime funds, board speaks with lieutenant on Friday; another meeting with Chief William Wilson scheduled for this upcoming Friday.

The Southampton Town Board on Friday heard a few reasons why it received a request for $250,000 in police overtime pay, however, other questions — namely, what will the department do to fund overtime for the rest of the year — remained unanswered, and will have to wait until this upcoming Friday.

The issue came to the fore Tuesday, when the board was surprised to hear a request from the comptroller's office shifting $250,000 from a police retirement line item to overtime. The town board authorized a shift of $175,000 to guarantee police officers would get their checks on time, but requested further information before authorizing the balance.

The department was allotted $475,000 for overtime for the entire 2011 fiscal year.

Lt. Robert Pearce represented the police department on Friday at the town board work session, with Chief William Wilson out of the office all last week attending to personal matters, according to town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

Pearce offered a few of places where increased costs have been incurred, though a discussion on what the department plans to do moving forward will be left to this upcoming Friday, when Wilson is scheduled to meet with the board. 

According to Pearce, , Wilson has added an eighth sector to the town's patrols, now offering a patrol car in the Flanders/Riverside area 24 hours a day. Pearce said past studies dating as far back as 30 years have suggested adding an eighth sector in town.

In addition, for the past three months the department has been in the process of potentially . The same time has seen "a significant increase in crime and the need for detective services, and a frustration of not being able to keep up with the load," he said.

Pearce said if the officers "cut the grade" for 18 months, they earn the civil service title. Until then, often they are learning the ropes with current detectives — meaning, if one detective is working overtime, the second officer often can be as well.

"If you're dragging a detective learning the job around and you get stuck on a fatality, now two officers are making overtime when previously you had one," he said, adding that detective overtime pay is about double than it was in 2010 so far.

Lastly, according to Pearce, Tropical Storm Irene brought along with her an increase in overtime hours, though he did not have the total on hand. Though he said he expected the town to be reimbursed for roughly 75 percent of those costs.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi expressed concern, at times frustration, with the "matter of dealing with the fiscal reality" that the police department used all its overtime funds with a quarter of the year left to go. Last Tuesday's resolution funded overtime expenses through Oct. 15.

According to budget numbers, the town paid just more than $460,000 in overtime in 2009 and through October of 2010 had spent about $434,000 in overtime.

Mark Wilson October 31, 2011 at 06:24 PM
The government here will apply for FEMA funds, or the countless Federal law enforcement funds available. There is NOTHING like local Tax Payers being double-billed for the taxes they already pay to the Town in property taxes and what they pay the Federal Government every year. THIS is how the Deficits locally and nationally accrue and make Government unsustainable.
Sharon Kerr November 01, 2011 at 12:18 AM
NY and Federal gov't declared a state of emergency? The money is available for this exact purpose, therefore, where is the problem? The police did an excellent job keeping the community safe.
cm November 03, 2011 at 05:22 PM
iam sure the money went elsewhere...
Bob Schepps November 06, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Forty plus cents of every dollar the fed spends comes from loans minus the tax money spent to repay interest on outstanding loans. If we keep thinking about federal "grants" as free money we are all in for the big depression that is surely coming. What should be done is what I was just notified for by my insurance company. I've used my limit on prescription drugs so I am now out of pocket. PERIOD but wait wasn't there Obama care that specifically says that arbitrary limits on medical services can no longer be less than........ (wait for it) 750,000 dollars. My union plan recieved an exemption from Obamacare so I am out of pocket still. Another words for the next two months I will be taking my economic medicine so to speak. So the govt picks winners and losers to gain polictical capital while we pay in cash. Sounds Greek to me. How bout we budget for hurricanes and other black swan events and take the tax hit to build some strength instead of dependence on a Fed that is maxed out. How bout we create prosperity with our money instead of debt. That the fundemental difference between govt investment and private investment.
Mary Beth November 06, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Corporate profits have reached dizzying heights and the more tax breaks you give them, the less people they hire and the more they fire. Their profits do not trickle down and that entire economic philosophy has been proved a complete fantasy. yes, the gov't IS picking winners and losers - the winners are the top 1% and the losers? Everyone else.

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