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Jun 27, 2013 2:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Employees Get Four-Day Weekend After All

Jul 3, 2013 10:07 AM
Some Southampton Town Hall employees will get tomorrow, July 5, off from work after all.

Last Thursday, June 27, Town Councilman James Malone sided with Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming in supporting a resolution offered by the supervisor to close Town Hall and most other town offices on the day after Independence Day, a gesture of thanks for town employees’ sacrifices during Superstorm Sandy last fall. His vote broke a deadlock that had killed a similar measure two days earlier, when Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Scalera voted against it, citing objections to closing town offices for two days right before the holiday weekend, and concerns about the move’s impact on collective bargaining agreements.

Ms. Scalera reiterated her “no” vote last Thursday, but Mr. Nuzzi was absent from the special board meeting called by the supervisor the day before. The measure passed, 3-1.

“I made it clear from the onset that I was in support of it, and I would have voted for it had I been there on Tuesday,” said Mr. Malone, who was absent from last Tuesday’s meeting because he was testifying in a court case in New York City. “We have limited opportunity to show our appreciation ... and I was glad to join in expressing that appreciation.”

The supervisor called a special meeting last Thursday morning, just before the Town Board’s regularly scheduled work session, specifically to hold a second vote on the day-off proposal. A second resolution also was walked on and was adopted unanimously; it authorizes the town to pay $8,000 for a Suffolk County veteran services officer to work with local veterans one day a week at Town Hall.

When Ms. Throne-Holst first introduced the idea of giving some town employees the day off on July 5 in her “State of the Town” speech in June, she said that giving them the extra time was a reward for their hard work during Superstorm Sandy last year. The day, sandwiched between the regular July 4 holiday and a weekend, is sure to be a slow one for town business, she said, and gives employees a unique opportunity to enjoy a four-day weekend.

She defended the decision before both votes last week, and again in response to questions this week.

“My purpose in doing it was, really, to thank everyone. Many of them did not garner any overtime or were there on weekends and stayed for evening meetings,” Ms. Throne-Holst said of the preparations and aftermath of the fall hurricane. “But it’s more than that. Over the last three to four years, we’ve tightened the budget, reduced our staff and put a lot more demands on our employees, and everyone has been very good-natured about it. And I felt this was nice and, for lack of a better word, [an] easy way for all of us to show our appreciation for that.”

Not everyone will get the day off. It will be business as usual for the Town Police Department, animal control officers, bay constables, code enforcement officers, fire marshals, parks workers, public safety dispatchers, beach staff, transfer station workers and mechanics. However, those workers required to work Friday will be given eight hours of additional vacation time to be used before the end of the year.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the resolution exempts police officers, because their compensation agreements account for them working on holidays; she also said those who worked prior, during and after the storm were already compensated for the extra time.

She acknowledged that many Town Hall workers and other employees likewise put in for overtime during the storm, but also noted that many did not. “Just for one example, Pam Giacoia at the Senior Center was there around the clock for days, and a number of her staff members just came in to help. They didn’t put in for the time—they just wanted to be there to help people,” Ms. Throne-Holst said of her director of senior services and her staffers. “A lot of our administrative staff, like the town attorneys, they put in a lot of extra hours.”

After the first vote last week, Mr. Nuzzi said that among his objections to the unplanned day off was that many employees already get a large number of days off each year as part of their contractual compensation package—about five weeks’ worth of sick, personal and vacation time for most, but much more for some. He said many employees don’t typically use all of their entitled off-days and that the extra day for those who work on Friday will just translate into another “banked” day that can be cashed in when the employee retires from the town’s employ and takes a check for unused time.

Ms. Throne-Holst this week countered that most employees do use their personal and vacation days, and that she’s seen no evidence of the massive accumulations of days off that Mr. Nuzzi had held up as evidence for why employees did not deserve another day off.

She did consent that “a handful” of employees who will have to work on Friday may use the extra day off instead of a regular personal day that, in turn, will go unused at the end of the year. In those cases, the time goes into their bank to be paid out when they retire, and thus may carry some financial impact to the town down the road.

But the supervisor said the small number of people who will be working on Friday, and the even smaller group that banks the extra hours, will have little financial impact in the grand scheme of things. And it should not undermine the gesture extended to the hundreds of employees who will get to enjoy a four-day weekend.

“We sliced it and diced it—that was important to me—and there is no financial impact to speak of,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “If there are a few people for whom it translates into a banked day, maybe that’s so. But the overwhelming number of employees will use this day. And it’s a gesture of gratitude for hard work—however they use it.”

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Someone's going to sue and in the end the taxpayers lose out. I'm conflicted because it is a nice gesture (though not too sure of the intentions) and it is likely the offices would be inefficient anyway due to people calling out "sick" or otherwise.

However, as a taxpayer it's ridiculous. I'm footing the bill for everyone to get a "bonus" vacation day because SOME employees worked extra hard after the storm? Most employees (police/parks/hwy excluded) already got 2 bonus days off because ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 13 3:14 PM
4 members liked this comment
Wow Nature....I agree with you. Everyone gets a trophy. I EXPECT my government to work a little O.T after a crises. Helps justify the benefits, cars, and other perks that the taxpayer is footing.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 27, 13 3:31 PM
Real World - I heard that the Town is going to sponsor a picnic and a game field day games at Red Creek Park for the 5th. Everyone gets participation ribbons and juice boxes! #sarcasm
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 13 3:49 PM
Nature, you underestimate the prizes. Everyone will get benefits for their grandchildren, new cars, 6 months off (now, some get 3 months if you can believe that) shorter hours, and no accountability. YIPPIEEEEE. The property owners get higher taxes, less services and more freedoms taken away....what a bargain!
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 27, 13 6:17 PM
Wow you people are heartless. I believe the article previous to this stated that the employees in question did NOT receive compensation (or OT) for working that storm. So youre suggesting they work for FREE??? Whether it be OT or a day off whats the difference??? Did any of you plan on going to Town Hall on July 5th? SMH people
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Jun 27, 13 6:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
you're totally clueless Sam...SMH at you :/
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jun 28, 13 1:24 AM
And if none of you planned on going to Town Hall on July 5th, then youre in the category of people who just like to complain BLAH BLAH BLAH
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Jun 27, 13 6:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Here is the passage being referred to. I agree with Sam. Read it, then go find something else to complain about.
"Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst thanked town employees for their long hours of work, SOMETIME WITHOUT ADD'L COMPENSATION, during the Superstorm Sandy"
By gloverdt (17), westhampton beach on Jun 27, 13 7:02 PM
typo *SOMETIMES
By gloverdt (17), westhampton beach on Jun 27, 13 7:03 PM
4000 hours of time off for our Town Staff,just like that,,now you see our tax dollars at work,bear that in mind at next election.I think there is a need for some state investigation into this reckless use of tax payers money,Hope the press and public will demand a full accounting for the cost of this election year scam.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jun 27, 13 7:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
The only people who benefitted from the storm was Pearce and Schurek raking in HUGE numbers in overtime for doing next to nothing, maybe town hall should finally look into that. Thank you to the employees in all jobs that helped the town and its residents during the storm and were away from your own families!
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Jun 27, 13 8:45 PM
@ mrobin~Pearce and Schrek did next to nothing?? How do you know this? Were you there? Last I knew both were chief and lieutenant with responsibilities of running a police department and coordinating emergency services throughout the storm
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jun 28, 13 1:18 AM
At that point it was still capt Pearce, and no while I wasn't there my problem is the massive amount of overtime complied by both men in a two week time frame allegedly above there 40 hour work week. Capt Pearce and Lt "summer off" I'm sure were in a nice office somewhere cashing in while the men and woman of the pd, highway dept, code enforcement etc were out in the thick of things...... Long story short there OT is unjustified and I haven't heard a single thing out of town hall about it. Go to ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Jun 28, 13 5:57 AM
I never heard of such BS! All levels of government declared a state of emergency during Sandy. Any government employee who worked beyond their normal 35, 37.5 or 40 hr work week should have been paid overtime in cash or comp accordingly. ATH can't change and deviate from the towns CSEA contract by being nice and giving employees a day off because of their hard work. What is she thinking?!? smh :/
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jun 27, 13 11:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
I wonder if Nuzzi and Scalera will show up Friday in protest? But I guess someone would get overtime for having to unlock the front door.
By Local dad (51), West of Nothwest Bub on Jun 28, 13 5:58 AM
Both have their own keys, so can let themselves in.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jul 1, 13 10:57 AM
ATH is up for election of course she is going to pander to employees.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 28, 13 7:17 AM
Looks like Nuzzi started his vaca early?..
I appreciate the work of the town employees after the storm however essential it was. If compensation was due for that work it should have been paid accordingly. I believe that these expenses, as they applied to Sandy recovery, were recoverable from federal and other sources under disaster relief.

There is nothing wrong in allowing certain employees to take a bridge day like July 5th, but it should be done by using vacation, personal, or ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 28, 13 8:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
If we have this type of money to throw away, why don't they reduce the costs of permits, beach fees, garbage fees or property taxes? So, some employees did a little extra that wasn't compensated (still find that hard to believe, salaried employees know thats part of the deal and hourly employees punch the clock) who hasn't did a little extra at their job? The Town employees get many benefits...more vacation time is just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Glad I paid my taxes June 1 so they can give ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 28, 13 9:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Another missed opportunity for the second homeowner to access Town Hall. The first being the Friday after Thanksgiving.
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 11:42 AM
As a non-subscriber, the Press vouchsafes me to read but a few paragraphs of any "locked" article. The few poorly-written lines that I was able to peruse in the original story herein implied that only town hall workers and those is subsidiary town offices would be offered a day off. Under that misunderstanding, I am embarrassed to say that I was so naive as to accept this proposal as an uncharacteristically compassionate and generous offer on the part of the Supervisor.

With the knowledge ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 28, 13 11:45 AM
2 members liked this comment
highhatsize: I have enjoyed your numerous comments over the years but find it amazing that you do not have a subscription to our paper or website. Do you know that it's only $45. for an entire year of both web and print? That this subscription gives you unlimited access to all archives? If you happen to receive a print subscription, you are ALREADY entitled to web access, just call the Southampton Office and talk with subscriptions! Over the years, you have been given full access to comment ...more
By KrisV (12), East Quogue on Jun 28, 13 12:24 PM
to KrisV:

The only reason that I don't subscribe to The Press is that it is unable to guarantee my confidentiality. I have checked about this with one of your colleagues.

I am a frequent critic of the STPD and if the cops are able to compel you to release my identity, or simply to ask you for it if that information is completely unsecured, they will make my life hell.

Cop aficionados herein have retorted that my apprehension is mere paranoia but with a p.d. as unprofessional ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 28, 13 2:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
Cop aficionados herein have retorted that my apprehension is mere paranoia but with a p.d. as unprofessional and arrogant as the STPD, a critic is wise to exercise caution (as the bogus DWI bust of Linda Kabot attests.)
Yessiree bub, that pretty much sums your opinion up. No hate there at all, at all.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 28, 13 2:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Right now cops throughout East Quogue are searching for a man to accuse of lying about his hat size. Right or wrong, someone's going down.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Jun 28, 13 3:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Actually, I prefer my dialectic a bit rough. Or am I off topic? Sorry!!
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 28, 13 7:21 PM
To the publisher: I find the above comment by someone purporting to be a member of your staff ridiculing and harassing a poster to these comment section highly unusual and offensive. It has been about nine hours that this comment has been allowed to stand. Is this this publication's stance that contributors are to be targets of the staff and editors? I also don't subscribe to you newspaper. But I buy the print edition on a weekly basis because it offers more to me than what is available on line. ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 28, 13 8:56 PM
"ridiculing and harassing"? where did you read anything of that sort? Even the hat himself didn't appear to take any offense
"I am flattered that you enjoy my comments, and I am grateful to the Press for having provided a forum upon which I can occasionally engage in gentle dialectic with courteous opponents" HHS
You're off the mark V.Tomanoku


"
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 28, 13 9:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
HH says: "I am embarrassed to say that I was so naive as to accept this proposal as an uncharacteristically compassionate and generous offer on the part of the Supervisor."

No, a more accurate way of putting it is that you spouted off (once again) without knowing the facts because you like to fill in blanks and you are a staunch believer in truthiness. Instead of actually figuring out the facts, you made firm statements as if you knew the details. Some things never change

P.S. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 13 9:27 AM
just another bunch of people jealous of the civil service worker. lotsa paid days off? yes, good for them! sorry if your job doesnt cut it, but dont begrudge the civil service worker. shame shame
By vsgurl (1), East Moriches on Jun 28, 13 12:58 PM
How much money will this day off cost the taxpayers?
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Jun 28, 13 1:49 PM
Whew! Now I can enjoy my weekend knowing that town employees are getting their 4 day weekend. Now I'm going into hiding as I fear my confidentiality may have been compromised and a town worker may dump the ice out of my cooler.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Jun 28, 13 3:22 PM
Ridiculous. Whats next Anna? Free lunch? on our dime....
By Hillsnbells (43), Southampton on Jun 28, 13 8:30 PM
I agree vsgurl. These people wouldnt be complaining if it was THEM getting the extra paid day off and we all know thats true. No one is ever FOR the employee anymore. Its a shame how under appreciated the Town workers are. And @ lucy2 "how much money will this day off cost the taxpayers?" WHO CARES!!!!! Let them enjoy! I find it mind boggling what Im reading here.
By gloverdt (17), westhampton beach on Jun 28, 13 8:36 PM
glover - most of these workers didn't work during for 2 days after the storm. They got paid to stay home - and now, as a "reward" they get another day off (funded by us, the taxpayer). Why do we need to reward people for not working?

And ATH is lying - there's not a single civil servant who was not paid their contractually stipulated pay for work done after the storm. If anyone worked and didn't get "compensated" they were appointed personnel who are salaried.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 13 9:23 AM
2 members liked this comment
TRUE
By subscriber (6), moriches on Jun 28, 13 8:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I rarely post but because I worked as a civil service worker for a Township (not Southampton) for many years I am quite offended by the "jealousy" as vsgurl put it. I am PROUD to BRAG that it was the best job I was ever blessed to have. 13 pd holidays, 2wks of sick dys, 4wks vaca, 5 personal dys, bereavement dys, time off for mammos, pension, life ins, legal & mental aid & MORE! WHO WOULDNT WANT ALL THAT? ISNT THAT THE KIND OF JOB WE STRIVE FOR?? Any of you would cut off an arm to get into a job ...more
By subscriber (6), moriches on Jun 28, 13 9:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like you really didn't like your job and didn't want to enforce the regulations of the Town. Glad you're not longer a civil servant because you clearly did not take any pride in serving the citizens.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 29, 13 9:24 AM
FYI all- those stats above are NOT the benefits in SH Town.
By Shinnecock Hills family (59), Southampton on Jul 6, 13 8:27 PM
I did my job well, did everything I was told, and never left any task undone whether I liked it or not. I earned my pay. But youre right. Pride in serving the citizens?? How could I? The citizens are a bunch of whiney complainers who do not appreciate the civil servant. And as I read the comments here, STILL ARE. Nothing has changed.
By subscriber (6), moriches on Jun 29, 13 7:08 PM
to Nature:

Quote:

"HH says: 'I am embarrassed to say that I was so naive as to accept this proposal as an uncharacteristically compassionate and generous offer on the part of the Supervisor.'

No, a more accurate way of putting it is that you spouted off (once again) without knowing the facts because you like to fill in blanks and you are a staunch believer in truthiness. Instead of actually figuring out the facts, you made firm statements as if you knew the details. Some ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 30, 13 12:48 AM
Does anyone else picture "Mr. Spock" when they read HHH?
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 30, 13 6:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
whhaaaaa??? When did I apologize for police? I passed on commenting on it (because I guess my opinions make you nauseous?

And I'm actually against these people getting an extra day off - particularly the police who made a lot of money in overtime. I wouldn't be surprised if the police sued and said they should get a day and a half off because they're technically being made to work a holiday now
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 30, 13 9:18 AM
"we"? you got a mouse in your pocket?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 30, 13 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Seems to me that Spock was a pretty noble character.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 3, 13 6:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
to Nature:

That's "apologia", not "apology", referencing your habit of effusively praising the STPD despite the recurrent evidence of its moral rot.

In this instance, one would expect you to disparage the notion that sterling professionals of the caliber of the STPD would stoop to harassing a citizen merely because he has called attention to their stupendously excessive pay and their relentlessly unseemly behavior. Thank you for sparing us that mummery.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 30, 13 11:11 AM
Your "attention calling" is nothing more than a tic of a clock. It appears you believe yourself to be far more important than you are.

And my bad, I lost my dictionary so I have a hard time deciphering your rants
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 30, 13 2:36 PM
to Nature:

Neither I nor any other reader is under the misapprehension that STPD cops are more than mildly annoyed at my criticism, if they are aware of my existence at all, but when a police force is accountable to no one for its actions, that's all it takes for them to mess someone up.

As long as the STPD has the Town Board on a leash, it is untouchable.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 1, 13 12:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Now you speak for other readers as well?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 1, 13 2:20 PM
It is my view that this form be closed down.It has become a format not for points of view but for grand standing by people that do not have the courage to give their names,,,,cowards is the name that comes to mind..........
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jul 2, 13 3:11 PM
coming from Mr. Etians road?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 2, 13 3:58 PM
Ha, I hear ya Nature.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 13 9:40 PM
How many people earned compensatory time Friday? Will they be compelled to use it or will they be peimitted to bank it and have it paid out in cash at retirement? If they are allowed to bank it, then it could be a costly day for us taxpayers and a horrible precedent.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Jul 8, 13 6:52 PM
Anas trying to buy votes with our money.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 8, 13 7:44 PM
How would they earn compensatory time if they were off?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 8, 13 7:44 PM
I think he means will the people who had to work (park/hwy/police) get comp time (time and a half) because they essentially worked a "holiday".

The way the article reads - no. They only get to use 1 day off at their digression between now and the end of the year and it can't be banked.

However, I believe it's costly regardless of that fact. You have to assume at least 50% (probably a much higher percentage) of employees were going to take the day off using their vacation/personal ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 8, 13 9:04 PM
FYI-none of the police officers, bay constables, etc got an extra day off, banked or otherwise, for Friday July 5. Nor did they get extra pay. That day off only applied to CSEA union members, mostly out of town hall, hwy dept, etc
By butterfly (11), brookhaven on Jul 8, 13 10:15 PM
butterfly - perhaps stick to B'haven politics if you aren't going to bother to read the article:

"Not everyone will get the day off. It will be business as usual for the Town Police Department, animal control officers, bay constables, code enforcement officers, fire marshals, parks workers, public safety dispatchers, beach staff, transfer station workers and mechanics. However, those workers required to work Friday will be given eight hours of additional vacation time to be used before ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 8, 13 10:37 PM
Nature, I was responding to other posters who were writing about police, constables, etc being given extra pay and extra days off. Perhaps you should re-read. Persons working july5 such as officers are NOT being given extra time off to be used by the end of the year. Press has it wrong
By butterfly (11), brookhaven on Jul 9, 13 3:18 PM
And where did you get your information from? There's no way this applies only to CSEA employees - and if it does a lawsuit would have been filed in a heartbeat. If Town Hall was closed, that already includes non-union employees
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 10, 13 11:17 AM
From my neighbor, who is an employee of Southampton town. Non-union members serve/work at discretion of the town. My point, again, is the press has it wrong in that bay constables, police, etc did not get July 5 off nor are they getting any other days off/extra compensation.
By butterfly (11), brookhaven on Jul 10, 13 1:18 PM
The press specifically noted in the article that they did not get the 5th off and I'll believe the Press that they get a day to use between now and Jan 1st over you and your un-named neighbor.

And non-union employees don't serve/work at the discretion of the Town. They have contracts that specifiy # of hours, benefits and work related obligations. You can't close Town Hall for CSEA employees only.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 11, 13 9:12 AM
Believe the press if you like but the information is incorrect. But doesn't surprise me at all. Apparently verifying information before printing it has gone by the wayside, not just with the press but in general
By butterfly (11), brookhaven on Jul 11, 13 9:02 PM
There is a very simple way to find out. The Press could just contact Town Hall and get clarification as to who actually had the day off, who got a day to use another time and who just went to work, no additional benefit and then update the article
By butterfly (11), brookhaven on Jul 11, 13 9:17 PM