Decent story, bad headline

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Decent story, bad headline


It's like the bad old days not so long ago when it was reported that a certain police officer was disciplined for wenching at the Morgan House while on duty.

From 27East yesterday:

Westhampton Beach Penalizes Police Officer 30 Days' Pay For Timecard Error

Just as Officer Tom Verbeeck was suspended and fired, not for being serviced by a divorcée with an overbite, but for disobeying a direct order by his Commanding Officer, so too has the cur­rent officer been "penalized."

(Reporter Jean-Paul Salamanca identifies the officer, without qualification, as Michael Bruetsch.)

The reality of the matter is found in the text of the story:

"When asked how the timecard issue came to the board's attention, Mayor Teller said: 'It was an order of the [police] chief that was reviewed by the village labor attorney.' He declined to offer additional comment, noting that it is a personnel issue."

The officer disobeyed an order from his Chief.

It had nothing to do with an "error," the use of which term suggests that a mistake was made.

There was no mistake!

The officer knew exactly what he was doing... trying to scam the state out of benefits to which he is not entitled while suspended.

And he got caught!

Westhampton Beach Trustees Joan Levan and Hank Tucker have yet to offer any explanation why they continue to support suspended Of­ficers Bruetsch and Joseph Pesapane at every turn since the Suffolk County Internal Affairs Bureau issued their report in October 2009.

Mrs. Levan is leaving the Board in July, but Tucker is standing for re-election... he must be asked that question.

(Disclosure: The writer [me] is challenging Tucker for a Trustee seat in the Village Board in June.)


1. Hampton West said...


In my days in labor relations in NYC, a cop who did that and up to that time had had no other problems would usually be penalized by losing a number of vacation days - an offense, that's it.

If he did it a second time or had a poor track record, he ran the risk of dismissal - and it often happened.

Given what's gone on over the past 27 months with this particular officer, I don't think he can be said to have an exemplary service record.
– Dean

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