December Village Board Meeting...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December Village Board Meeting...

...or as it will henceforth be known, "the Night of the Ol' Fixeroo."

In an unforeseen move, the Westhampton Beach Board of Trustees, less Deputy Mayor Toni Jo Birk who did not attend, voted 3-1 with Mayor Conrad Teller opposing, to direct Chief Ray Dean to rescind the suspensions of the two Village Police Officers.

The two members of the department, Michael Bruetsch and Joseph Pesapane, have been on paid suspension since the Village received the Suffolk County Police Internal Affairs report following a six-month investigation into the conduct of the two men surrounding another officer's missing handgun last March.

In a meeting agenda prepared by Mayor Teller and released this morning, it appeared that the Village Board was set to move forward on the disciplinary charges and convert the sus­pensions to "without pay" status.

But before the three items came up, Trustee Joan Levan introduced an add-on resolution, seconded by deposed Deputy Mayor Jim Kam­etler, directing the Police Chief to vacate the charges against the two officers and reinstate them to active duty with "back pay."

(Ever the cement-head, Trustee Kametler seemed to be unaware that both officers had been suspended with pay!)

This res­olution was carried by the votes of Trustees Kametler, Levan and Hank Tucker, emphasizing that they were acting as "the Po­lice Commissioners of the Village of West­hampton Beach," with Mayor Teller voting no.

Chief Dean noted for the record that all Suffolk County Police Internal Affairs reports are for­warded to the Suffolk County District Attorney for review, but the troika seemed to miss the import of that.

The Mayor then attempted an add-on reso­lution of his own but could not get a second until he explained, sotto voce, that the other resolutions needed to be removed from the agenda. Then he got the necessary second.

In the Public Discussion part of the meeting, the three Trustees were questioned directly and individually as to whether they had met with members of Suffolk County Internal Affairs during the course of IA's six month investigation.

All acknowledged that they had, reaffirming a statement that Trustee Tucker had made at the October Board meeting.

(The IA report indicated that all four Trustees had met with investigators during the preparation of that report.)

The three Trustees were then asked whether, either individually or collectively, they had obtained a legal opinion on whether they could take any action on a report in which they were named?

All acknowledged that they had sought legal advice on the matter, and been told that they were within their rights to act as they were.

Further inquiry on the matter proved unproductive.

More Trustee Games

In another instance of the troika playing ob­structionist with Village business, an agenda item to appoint Special Counsel to represent the Village in an Article 78 procedure brought by Winhaven Realty against the Zoning Board of Appeals, also failed to get a second.

Even when Village Attorney Hermon Bishop re­minded the Board that the Village was requir­ed as a matter of law to file a response to the Article 78 by January 15, 2010, the Trustees remained obdurate.

In a 'phone interview following the meeting, ZBA Chairman Chris Bean was asked if he had been given any indication that the Trustees were going to toss the ZBA overboard on this application?

"Absolutely not!" he shot back! "And the ZBA's determination is a solid one."

"What do you think is going on here?" he was asked.

"It's Joan Levan's pal, Planning Board Chair­man Ralph Neubauer. He approached me on multiple occasions last Summer while we were hearing the Winhaven application, and tried to intercede on their behalf."

(This would not be the first time that the Empress of Oneck's buttboy has tried to be the "fix-it guy" at Six Corners.)

Mr. Bean added:

"One time he ambushed me by the rear door of Village Hall, agitating for an expedited decision on the Winhaven application. He was rather pushy on the subject."

The fine hand of the Empress at work again... she seems to think that a second story on North Mall would enhance the look of that portion of Old Riverhead Road, never mind the lack of parking for such an expansion.

Former Deputy Mayor Victory Levy, who has also served on the ZBA and as Planning Board Chairman, left the building with me at the end of tonight's meeting.

We were both shaking our heads in disbelief.

"Kinda makes you miss the days of Mayor Bob Morgan," Mr. Levy said. "At least those had an element of 'fun.'"


1. Barbara Ramsay said...

Holy-This-Stinks-to-High-Heaven-Batman! Glad we sold our place in the Village and are no longer paying the salaries for this absurd behavior.

2. Matlynn Carville said...

So let me get this straight:

  1. Chief Ray Dean appropriately, as mandated by the law, went to Internal Affairs with a serious issue involving a disappearing gun.

    Westhampton Beach Trustees showed up later at Internal Affairs to try to cook the books, because the alleged perpetrators were friends of theirs, or something?

    What if it was your kid who pulled the same stunt; would the law be as forgiving? NO. The thought of those Trustees keeping law and order in this village would be laughable, were it not so serious an interference with justice. No wonder they don't like Chief Dean: he's no crooked arrow.
  2. The Village Trustee(s) sent Ralph on a crusade to INFLUENCE a sitting Chairman on the Zoning Board's decision? (I can't see him doing this under his own volition.)

    Follow that with "Teflon-Six-bullet-missed-possum," as perhaps Native Americans would call him, promising there would be legal representation? It makes my guts churn, wondering what the next "unforeseen move" is going to be.
So here ya have it, folks:
  • Illegal ballots in elections.
  • Special treatment if you are a friend of a Trustee.
  • Special nasty treatment if you are NOT a friend of the Trustees.
  • Interference in legal investigations, and lying about who started the report.
  • Tens to hundreds of thousands spent in litigation that never should have transpired.
Good grief -- PLEASE let there be a sufficient misstep to nail these jokers to the wall!!

Keep up the righteous work, Speir! Those who find you truculant have a tendency to ignore the muck you're raking. The rest of us are grateful.
Whew! Don't hold back, now!

One clarification... I doubt that multiple Trustees detailed Ralph Neubauer to reach out to ZBA Chairman Chris Bean. If one was involved, it would have been Joan Levan, but he is soooooo her buttboy, that for her to indicate a liking for the applicant's proposal, would be sufficient to motivate him to further ingratiate himself with her. It is the nature of the buttboy/lapdog.

3. Paramarine said...

Wouldn't it be easier to just change the name of the village to "The Banana Republic of Westhampton Beach?" Once everyone is on the same page with that understanding, a lot of effort can be spared. Besides, it has a nice ring to it.

4. Matlynn Carville said...

Holy Batman!

Does this mean the lemmings of the Incorporated Village of Westhampton Beach will next choose an unbalanced Tucker as Mayor with Levan as a Deputy Mayor? Or maybe Neubauer on deck?

Ladies and germs, you'd best get yourself some viable candidates before the Village is rendered bankrupt!

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