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May 2, 2012 10:09 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Placed On Forced Leave

May 3, 2012 7:44 AM

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant James Kiernan has been placed on paid administrative leave, town officials confirmed this week, although the precise reasons why remain protected personnel matters that are not yet public.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said on Tuesday that Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. informed the Town Board on Monday about Lt. Kiernan’s forced leave. “We will be getting a report on Friday,” she added.

Lt. Kiernan’s leave took effect last Thursday, April 26, and is for an undetermined amount of time, the chief confirmed. He said he is prohibited from publicly explaining why. “Personnel matters are confidential,” he said.

Administrative leave refers to being relieved from duty with pay, usually pending the results of an investigation or discipline, he said.

Approximately $139,000 is budgeted for Lt. Kiernan’s base salary and about $220,000 for his total annual compensation and benefits in the town’s 2012 budget. He was promoted to his current rank as of October 12, 2011. Chief Wilson has confirmed that he previously recommended that the Town Board end Lt. Kiernan’s six-month probationary period in his new position, which would have reduced his rank back to sergeant. The board did not take such action.

Prior to becoming lieutenant, then-Sergeant Kiernan was the commanding officer of the department’s now-defunct Street Crime Unit, a specialized unit that investigated drug sales and trafficking undercover. He was named a sergeant in 2005 and joined the department as a police officer in 1997, according to town documents.

Lt. Kiernan has worked as an undercover narcotics officer, crisis negotiator, sniper, diver and firearms instructor, among other positions.

“I have no comment,” he said when reached by phone on Tuesday.

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By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on May 2, 12 3:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
$220K annually?

Wow. No wonder the Town's budget is challenged!

PS -- Nothing personal about Mr. Kiernan, just shock and awe about this lofty annual package, which one assumes is typical?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 2, 12 3:39 PM
3 members liked this comment

Yes, that is typical. Annual Salary 139k, Medical benefits for family 30k, funding lifetime pension obligation - 50k.

By C Law (354), Water Mill on May 2, 12 4:54 PM
Just a bit more than quadruple your "typical" $20/hr (+ O.T.) wage earner...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 2, 12 6:36 PM
It's not like he's a rookie cop. . . he's a Lieutenant with loads of experience (undercover narco, crisis negotiator, sniper, diver, firearms instructor etc.) and I'm guessing 20+ years experience. His base salary breaks down to $67/hr (before benefits/OT). I'm more than happy paying that for someone with that amount of experience (excluding, obviously, whatever reason he was suspended for).
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on May 2, 12 7:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'd pay less for a non-sniper.
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on May 3, 12 1:11 AM
$220,000 for a total annual compensation, $100,000 more than his base? So when Pearce was promoted to Capt it was only an extra $14,000, Im sure the "Numbers Guy" Malone and Nuzzi took that into account about only wanted the public to know the lesser. Looks like they were trying to pull another fast one.
By mrobin (121), North Sea on May 2, 12 5:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
You commit a crime or do something shakey and your in the police plotter of the local paper. Why aren't Kiernans issues reported to the tax payer we have the right to know. It was obviously bad enough to suspend this officer. The police blotter just reports alledged crimes of someone why aren't these allegations published in this paper. Where do we find all these misfits with all these problems? The dept needs to clean house!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 2, 12 6:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who said he committed a crime? He could have violated policy or he could be accused of wrongdoing that doesn't violate a law. I'm not saying it shouldn't be disclosed, but it's not the same thing.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on May 2, 12 7:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
That doesn't include OT.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on May 2, 12 7:27 PM
All public employees should fund their own retirement and medical like the rest of us. We are going broke because of benefits like this. If anyone disagrees you are more then welcome to pay my portion of the tax bill for these benefits. Print your name and address and I will send you the portion allocated for these benefits.
By realistic (472), westhampton on May 2, 12 7:47 PM
Lt. Kiernan is a cop, let's focus on that not his salary! What is going on inside that police station? Politics needs to take a back set to operations!
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on May 2, 12 8:59 PM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on May 2, 12 9:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
As if his is the only one that could be considered "exorbitant"...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 2, 12 9:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 2, 12 9:19 PM
Lt Kiernan is underpaid for his experience
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 2, 12 9:22 PM

If your perception that he is underpaid is a bell-weather, then we should all expect mass municipal bankruptcies.

No "slam" on Lt. Kiernan, but costs like this are simply not sustainable, when one projects the future costs.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 2, 12 9:33 PM
3 members liked this comment
I would ask how much is too much to pay the people that run towards the danger while we run away, and are called to do so everyday or have done so in their carrer? These people who have families and loved ones. Should a politician be paid more? But the fact of the matter is the question that hopefully will be answered Friday apparently....WHY?
By DOTTS76 (8), HAMPTON BAYS on May 3, 12 1:28 PM
Bleeding the people dry, whom you are sworn "to protect and serve" by securing benefits and "compensation" over ninety percent of them will never have to power to secure for themselves; well, reminds me of this Sherriff from English lore...
May 3, 12 7:28 PM appended by Mr. Z
The more ye for yourself take, the poorer a class of people you shall create.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 3, 12 7:28 PM
200,000 is too much. way too much, DOTTS76. ask a fireman the same question.
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on May 6, 12 10:51 AM
How much do you pay someone who has risked their life to save lives and make the town they live in a better place. If budget is the issue, why pay for a qualified member of law enforcement to stay home, and not let him do his job? Politics have recently wasted too much of the taxpayers time and money. At the very least we should have a reason from the cheif! Why are local officials put in place that don't want to work together? Get to work cheif or get out, and let people that do want to work ...more
By DOTTS76 (8), HAMPTON BAYS on May 2, 12 10:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
While he does look like a qualified member of the department there is obviously a reason the chief put him on administrative leave, I would say the chief is doing his job. Also the article states that the chief has asked for his demotion and the town board has refused....again the chief attempting to do his job. The better question is why did the town board refuse, or which members? Could it be because the LT is a Republican committee man....yes let the politics STOP!!
By mrobin (121), North Sea on May 3, 12 7:26 AM
Oh, no. The 2,000 lb. gorilla of STPD compensation has gotten out in public again. Quick, call the Town Board and tell them to stuff it back in the closet pronto!

By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 2, 12 11:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
200 g's a year into anything else would be better.
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on May 3, 12 1:18 AM
The article implies that he was suspended which is misleading and untrue. He was placed on administrative leave which is entirely different. Administrative leave is leave with pay pending the outcome of an alleged matter and is not a determination of wrongdoing. Suspension is a disciplinary action that is ratified by the town board. How can he be suspended when the board doesn't even have a copy of the chief's report? Print a correction.
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on May 3, 12 2:43 AM
You are correct. The article and headline have been changed to be more accurate.
By Bill Sutton, Managing Editor (117), Westhampton Beach on May 3, 12 11:18 AM
A little late, it 's on the front page.
By jams (129), hampton bays on May 10, 12 8:01 PM
Isn't confirming an existing personnel matter to the press the same as discussing it?
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on May 3, 12 2:55 AM
What a timeline of events of how this town board (mostly Nuzzi and his two ring circus) keep giving the residents of Southampton Town the "middle finger", by consistantly not taking action against their own and obstructing local government? These clowns are a waste of our taxpayer dollars and it's time for us to get rid of " those in power", who are misguided and corrupt. Funny thing is, this Lt. was pining for Chief, still just the tip of the iceberg.
By Geppetto (59), Southampton on May 3, 12 12:12 PM
Someone commented that we shouldn't be focusing on his salary and compensation. Actually that is the bigger issue that everyone should be discussing - it's not the Police salary but the benefits that are costing so much. The Town is going to run into a HUGE brick wall with their pension benefit obligations, which far exceed that available to any other East End residents (save for the hedge fund managers who live on the beach). This will be addressed in a variety of ways - posssible bankruptcy ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on May 3, 12 12:14 PM
"And when was the ;last time we needed a sniper?"

What an ignorant comment. So since You think that we don't have a regular "need" for a sniper, a select number of our officers shouldn't be trained ot be snipers? Considering the number of VIPs (both political and hollywood) that are out here I'm more than happy paying for a little Sniper training.

And no, I'm not saying that VIPs are more important than others, but I am saying that because of the clientele we have out here, ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on May 3, 12 12:49 PM
Misfits with problems aren't in the department(well maybe our chief) they are on the streets and good, honest, hard working officers like Lt.. Kiernan had a pretty good grip on it. All i can say is our police department needs more men like Kiernan and less like Chief Wilson.Our department needs to clean the streets not the house. Every one is squawking about his salary, I rather pay his salary then pay for new shiny lettering and uniform patches and big wigs vacations, this all while we are laying ...more
By flanders70 (2), flanders on May 3, 12 4:11 PM
You MUST be married to this guy! pucker up Flanders70, BTW you don't make any sense. Our donuts eating Police force is way to overpaid.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on May 3, 12 8:07 PM
I know tax payer dollars fund the STPD, but ummm would any of you want your work issues dissected in the local paper? I'm trying to figure out why this story was published in the first place, it only causes speculation, and speculation about something that is really no ones business.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 3, 12 4:42 PM
Misfits arent in the department, your absolutely right, however the Chief by no means is a problem in this. He is cleaning house that is so desperately needed and morale in the department is up because of it. The shiny lettering and new patches mean nothing except an escape from the old regime. Dont blame the Chief for your friends leave of absence because Im guessing theres more to the story then meets the eye, the story states he's a crisis negotiator so Im sure he can spin the story however ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on May 3, 12 4:54 PM
I am was born and raised in Flanders and still live in Flanders till this day, and i can tell you for a fact that since we have lost our drug task force, Flanders is going down hill fast. Maybe I can give the kid who deals in my neighborhood your address. Im not disrespecting anyone but get real and see what is right in front of you. The Town of Southampton is worse then
organized crime!
By flanders70 (2), flanders on May 3, 12 5:31 PM
Southampton Town likes to pretend that Flanders doesn't exist
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on May 7, 12 10:13 AM
This whole story is politics at its best. Kiernan went after Wilson's job and lost. To the victors go the spoils.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 3, 12 5:50 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Geppetto (59), Southampton on May 3, 12 6:20 PM
waa waa waa.....New Patches....New Decals on cars. I'm sure that burned a hole in some account. Really?
By 1640sWhaler (74), Sag Harbor/Easthampton on May 5, 12 5:18 PM

The Southampton Police Dept has always been the out of control and extremely expensive "armpit" of Southampton Town. We can drastically cut our taxes and improve the Town's finances almost overnight by subcontracting the work to the Suffolk Police Dept!

It's way past time!
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 12, 12 7:35 AM