About Wednesday night...

Friday, December 04, 2009

About Wednesday night...

The sheer audacity of Westhampton Beach Village Trustees Joan Levan and Hank Tucker is stultifying.

And yes, deposed Deputy Mayor Jim Kametler was part of it, but those who've watched him for any period of time... ten minutes or more... understand that he has no more audacity than he does intelligence.

In effect, the troika staged a coup de village, but not without the passive assistance of Dep­uty Mayor Toni Jo Birk who opted to not show up for a Village Board meeting which had been calendered since July's annual organizational meeting.

So what actually happened, and what does it all mean?

The message to the rank'n'file of the Village Police Department was simple: "Do whatever you want, we've got your back."

The "whatever" part includes, but is not neces­sarily limited to:

  • Burglary
  • Lying under Oath
  • Working a second job on Village time
  • Cooping (sleeping on duty)

...and that's just for openers.

At the same time the troika made official what has been an open secret for the past 28 months: there is no longer any chain of command within the Village Police Department.

Got a duty assignment you don't like? Or need to clock out early? Call Hank Tucker... he'll take care of it for you, and toss in a cheesecake while he's at it.

(Before that, Mrs. Birk was the "go-to" person, but no one got any cheesecake.)

Never mind the rationale behind the Trustees' quashing of the disciplinary actions against the two police officers found to have been guilty of a collective nine (9!) charges following a more than six month investigation by an independ­ent agency, Suffolk County Police Internal Af­fairs, and what Tucker told The Southampton Press' Hallie Martin following the meeting... his lips were moving, Q.E.D., he was lying.

The most ironic "excuse" though, was this:

"Mr. Kametler said that as a former West­hamp­ton Beach police officer, he has sat through disciplinary hearings before, when Officer Thomas G. Verbeeck was put on the stand in the mid-1990s, and they could prove to be costly."

They certainly could, and in the Verbeeck case, it was Kametler's own sworn testimony that was found to be less than credible, which helped undermine the Village's case.

But if they think that letting the disciplinary hearing would be too expensive, they have no idea the cost which their actions have exposed the Village.

(And they'd better pray that Suffolk County doesn't send the Village a bill for the six plus months of wasted efforts by its Police Internal Affairs division.)

If the District Attorney doesn't want to look into this, then there's always the New York State Attorney General's office, so egregious has the Trustees' conduct been.

This ain't over by a long shot....


1. Jeanne Speir said...

You just don't get tired of whacking at those windmills, do ya, Don Q.?

Call me paranoid, but law and order has taken a back seat to this CRAZY group of Trustees. Sadly, I realize Mayor Teller did this to his beloved Village by protecting and shepherding the people he did into Village office. Now he is getting the Ridgie Barnett treatment, and Birk has gone AWOL. I hope everyone feels like fools, because they've been had.

This stuff HAS to stop.

Well, it might help if some others showed up now and then and spoke out....
– Dean

2. Barbara Ramsay said...

So very sad for the Village of Westhampton Beach.

3. Hampton West said...

What is going on here? This is really beyond belief.

Disband the department - let the Town police run it - look at what these folks earn - and look at the service you get.

Well, it would be a good way to unload some deadwood... starting with two of the dispatchers... and the mutts in uniform who've been abusing their positions for way too long.

4. Hambone said...

What are the Westhampton Beach police stats?

  • Budget
  • pension
  • arrests grouped by severity
  • stops
  • calls
Dunno... a cost/effectiveness study might be a productive step at this point... except that even if this crew would authorize such a study, as we've just seen it didn't come out the way they wanted it, they wouldn't adopt it.

5. Guy said...

A little advice please; Where should our disgruntled and angry comments be made about the Board's actions? Which forum or method would be most effective for the average citizen?

For those who have the guts to stand up... traditionally, few in Westhampton Beach do... attend a Village meeting and address the Board directly.

They only pull this crap because the voters and taxpayers let them by their silence.

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