For your consideration...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For your consideration...

...or not, depending on how much attention you've been paying over the past 18 months!

It is the time of year when the Westhampton Beach Police Benevolent Association makes its mail solicitation for "financial support."

They even thoughtfully provide a pre-address­ed #6½ envelope for your donation, hoping you'll just whip out your check book and exhibit your generosity... before you start thinking about how the local PBA actually has spent previous money it has received.

According to this year's solicitation:

"Over the years the P.B.A. has helped to support the Family Counseling Services, the East End Hospice, the Dominican Sis­ters, the Southampton Police Athletic League, the Hugs Program, the Great Strides Program for Cystic Fibrosis, as well as all Westhampton Beach School District Athletic Teams."

Conspicuously unmentioned is how the PBA has expended donations over the past year:

  • $5,000 to suspended (mostly with pay) Officer Michael Bruetsch toward his legal fees in the on-going Disciplinary Hearings (eight counts) before a hear­ing officer.
  • Ditto for Officer Joseph Pesapane, al­though only on a single count.
  • Another $5,0001 for suspended Detec­tive Steven Cunneen for use in de­fending himself against departmental disciplinary charges.

(It's difficult to ascertain exactly how the rest of the money was disbursed since there doesn't appear to be a public ac­counting available anywhere.)

Let's look at how the Village PBA did not spend any of its donated "war chest."

It turned a deaf ear to a request by Officer Steven McManus for assistance with his legal fees in conjunction with the Suffolk County Internal Affairs Bureau's investigation of his missing handgun.

It must be emphasized that Officer McManus is the only member of the Village Police Depart­ment named here who has not been charged with a crime or a violation.

Several other points to consider:

  1. This is the second letter the PBA has sent out in the past two months. The first was overtly political, and in clear violation of their charter as a 501(c)(5) Labor Organization.
  2. Speaking of which, the PBA is at risk of having that 501(c)(5) status re­voked, which could be why this week's PBA solicitation letter is silent on the matter of donations be­ing "tax deductible."
What to do... what to do?

Anyone is free to do with their money as they see fit, but here are some options to consider:

  1. Tear up the current PBA mailing and get on with your week.
  2. Write out a check for whatever sum you deem appropriate, and send it off in the provided envelope.
  3. Use that same provided envelope to send the PBA a little note expressing your feelings about how it and too many of its members have been comporting themselves to the detri­ment of the entire Village.

Anyone opting for "c" might like to point out that whatever donation you might have made, will instead be going toward the higher taxes due to members' actions condoned by the Westhampton Beach PBA.

Perhaps that'll get their collective attentions... nothing else has to date.

  1. Still no word on whether Detective Cunneen returned that $5,000 when he decided it would be prudent to accept Command Discipline rather than fight the charges.

    Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Cunneen will be retiring at the end of this week.


1. Champ 19 said...

Thank you. Chose option A. Don't live in the Village, but I won't be underwriting their slush funds.

2. Scarlett said...

Mine had a direct route: mailbox to garbage can ... "Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200," at least not from me!

Guess I'm not feeling particularly "benevolent" today.

That's one approach, but it doesn't send any direct messaage to the PBA why they won't be getting your donation... and face it, subtlety isn't very effective with these guys. Spend the 43¢ and tell them straight out: "Policemen, police thyselves!"
– Dean

3. Seeker said...

I suggest chewing a nice wad of A. gum; B. tobacco; or C. cud,and depositing same in the return envelope.

Pssst - postage is now .44 !

Thank you for the update, #1, and, #2, do you actually think Jeff Speer is savvy enough to get the core message from a wad of whatever?

4. Tugboat Bertha said...

I'm waiting for your report about the big brouhaha that Southampton Press says happened in the Westhampton Beach Municipal Parking Lot next to Starr's last night.

Wasn't there, so you'll have to trust 27East for the report on the "Rumble on Canal Street."

5. Old Part-timer said...

it's good to see the blogger's got his game back. The hell with the PBA!

'Tain't a game with this taxpayer, ol' son.

6. Kathie Williamson said...

Screw the entire PBA because of two or three "bad apples?" That's not right!

You don't seem to have been paying attention to what's been going on here of late.

While it may be "two or three 'bad apples'" who've been suspended in the past year... that not an insignificent number in a department of 16... you also have to look at the others who are supporting those "bad apples," not just with PBA funds but in some of their incautious, perhaps intemperate comments.

With a group such as this, the most effective "policing" is from within, yet this has not happened. Just look at the leadership!

The stupidest part of all this is that as an entity, the PBA has failed to recognize just how good they've had it in Westhampton Beach, and that goes back the five or six decades I've been clocking the Village PD.

They just got greedy.

7. EastEnd68 said...

The PBA killed the golden goose -- lost my support and I hope others' support.

My point exactly in the previous response!

8. Hampton West said...

Keep it up Speir! Nice job presenting the facts.

"All the news that's fit to blog"

9. Dune Mind said...

What to do?

First and foremost: if you wish to support Family Counseling Services, the East End Hospice, the Dominican Sisters, the Southampton Police Athletic League, the HUGS Program, or the Great Strides Program for Cystic Fibrosis, give to them directly. They would profoundly appreciate the income, the PBA won't take their overhead off your gift, and gifts to any of those organizations would be tax-deductible for you.

It bears repeating that gifts to the PBA are NOT deductible. Entities incorporated under 501(c)(5) have some freedom from taxation for various aspects of operation, but they are not charitable organizations. They may solicit donations, but they are required to state at the point of solicitation that such contributions are not deductible.

Soliciting donations and saying that the donations are deductible when they are not is fraud. And soliciting with the intimation that the primary activities of the organization involve supporting charities is itself worthy of judicial consideration. At risk of restating the well-known, the "benevolent" in {Patrolmen's Benevolent Association} is not about benefiting the public or charitable organizations. Its mission is to benefit its members.

Direct donations! Now why didn't I think of that? Good catch.
– Dean

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