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Nov 13, 2013 8:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Schurek Named Captain Of Southampton Town Police Department

Nov 13, 2013 10:21 AM

The Southampton Town Board promoted veteran Town Police Officer Lawrence Schurek from lieutenant to captain on Tuesday afternoon.

The resolution passed 4-0, as Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi was absent.

Capt. Schurek has been a member of the Southampton Town Police Department for 28 years and has been a lieutenant since April 2010. The promotion makes Capt. Schurek the heir apparent for the chief’s job should Chief Pearce retire in the near future, as has been speculated.

“This is an important moment for the Southampton Town Police Department,” Town Police Chief Robert Pearce said. “During those 28 years of serving this town ... he has had a constant day-in, day-out dedication to service. He certainly has earned this position.”

Turning to Capt. Schurek beside him, he added: “I look forward to working with you as my executive officer.”

The police department’s lone captain’s position had been vacant for nearly a year since Chief Pearce took over as the head of the department with the retirement of Chief William Wilson Jr. Chief Pearce had been captain for just six months when he took over as chief. Prior to that, the position had been vacant for more than a year following the retirement of longtime Captain Anthony Tenaglia.

According to the town’s 2014 tentative budget, the captain is set to earn a base salary of $168,000, a figure that goes up to $263,000 when benefits are factored in. As a lieutenant, Capt. Schurek was slated to earn a base salary of $150,000 next year.

Traditionally, the police department’s captain serves as the unit’s executive officer and assists the chief with clerical and logistical management of the department’s 86 officers and other staff.

The move drew criticism from the officers’ union. In a letter to the Town Board, a copy of which was provided anonymously to The Press, Patrolman’s Benevolent Association Vice President Kevin Gwinn said the promotion, and its associated costs, were unnecessary and that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the department.

“Our department’s Emergency Services Unit’s budget has been cut some $15,000, which no doubt effect [sic] training and equipment needed to keep our elite tactical officers at a level, as they address the most dangerous elements throughout our town,” Officer Gwinn wrote. “It is the PBA’s opinion that this unnecessary title promotion should be examined further ... because of our desperate need for a safer level of police presence.”

The union representative also noted that the $30,000 in additional salary and benefits that Capt. Schurek’s promotion will cost could be better invested on staffing and training costs.

Police Overtime Costs Up

The Town Board on Tuesday approved amending the 2013 budget to cover up to $100,000 in unbudgeted overtime pay for Town Police officers. The money will be appropriated from other lines of the police department budget, such as vehicle and equipment maintenance.

The police department, which has been operating at reduced staffing levels for several years, has commonly overspent its budgeted overtime allotment as department brass often must fill shifts with part-time officers and by awarding extra shifts.

“It’s part of the balancing act we’ve been working with,” Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said. “It’s been a little bit higher this year than the last couple years—we had several special events like the [U.S. Women’s Open]. But we’re still at a point where the overtime is less expensive to us than adding salaries would be.”

Ms. Throne-Holst is in the midst of contract negotiations with the town’s police officers union, the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. The supervisor says she has a draft contract that she plans to present to the Town Board this week for their tacit approval before taking it to the PBA.

The contract negotiations with the PBA are likely focused on issues of health insurance plans and contributions by officers, the use of part-time officers to fill shifts, and salary increases. The new contract would be retroactive to the start of 2013. The tentative budget Ms. Throne-Holst submitted this fall forecasts a 2-percent raise for officers.

Trustees Designated
Municipal Corporations

Governor Andrew Cuomo last month signed legislation that declares the Southampton Town Trustees, as well as their counterparts in East Hampton and Southold towns, to be municipal corporations and makes them eligible to accept gifts in the form of land seized by Suffolk County.

The legislation was drafted and presented to the State Legislature by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.

The new designation will put the Trustees boards, each of which has been sitting and continually elected since the colonial era, on the same legal footing as towns and villages in terms of accepting ownership of lands.

“The Trustees are clearly local elected government bodies,” Mr. Thiele said. “They will greatly benefit from the ability to receive land at no cost from the county or other local governments, to be placed under their stewardship.”

Suffolk County commonly transfers lands that it seizes for failure to pay back taxes to local municipalities at little or no cost. The lands are often used to create affordable housing or preserve open space. State law requires that the lands be passed to municipal corporations.

“The passage of this bill not only allows us to acquire sensitive wetland parcels,” said Southampton Town Trustees President Eric Shultz, “but, just as important, recognizes the Trustees as a municipal corporation, which will strengthen our standing on other issues.”

Mill Pond Bids Opened

The town has received more than a dozen bids from companies interested in redesigning the Deerfield Road and Mill Pond drainage and outflow system.

The bids ranged from $91,840 to more than $218,000. The lowest bid was submitted by Bimasco Inc, a Hauppauge materials company that was also awarded a contract by the town this week for the maintenance of all the town’s recharge basins.

The project will renovate a system of drainage pipes that funnel runoff from the broad watershed, much of it farms and polo fields, north of Mill Pond and ending at a turn in Deerfield Road where it runs along the pond’s northeastern shore. Three separate pipes will be combined into one. At the end of the pipe will be a stone splash area to prevent erosion, and a buffer of plants and shrubs to help filter sediments from the water before it reaches the pond.

A swale running down the west side of Deerfield Road and extending about 200 feet up from the pond’s edge will also be cleaned out and redesigned to include check-dams that slow the flow of water, allowing sediment carried in it to settle. The swale will also be vegetated with specially selected plants to capture more sediment and nutrients.

The work is seen as critical to the effort to rid the pond of the choking algae blooms that have plagued it for years. Last spring the town began a two-year experiment using a mineral specially engineered to bond to phosphorous in the pond’s waters, in hopes of starving the algae blooms of their food source. But controlling runoff is necessary to slow the influx of additional phosphorous and other pollutants that could spark other blooms.

The town budgeted some $250,000 for the drainage work, the money coming from a $320,000 grant from the Suffolk County Water Protection and Restoration Fund.

Riverside Revitalization

Proposals Also Received

The town also received three responses to its request for proposals for its Riverside Revitalization Action Plan. The request seeks a developer to help guide and shepherd the redevelopment, rehabilitation and revitalization of the hamlet’s commercial district.

The proposals received came from Renaissance Downtowns, a New Hampshire firm that specializes in urban downtown development and the creation of “boutique cities,” a group listed only as VHB, and by The Southampton Inn, whose owner, Dede Gotthelf, had spearheaded a proposal a decade ago to develop a hotel and conference center complex along the Riverside waterfront.

The proposals are being reviewed by the town’s Department of Land Management.

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Congrats Capt "summer off"....... Goes to show you the old boys club is still in full swing
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 13, 13 9:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
Even the union didn't like this promotion. They thought the money would be better spent on tactical SWAT operations.This is a police department where most members have never fired their weapon during duty, but for some reason think they should be trained with semi automatic weapons. These guys really know how to waste the money.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 13, 13 10:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
No police officer ever wants to fire their weapon during their career! But I can tell you that they have most certainly drawn their weapons. And because of their training they are able to defuse the situation. Using a weapon is the last resort, a matter of life of death and I hope you never have to be confronted with that. An officer has to keep these things in the back of their mind on the day to day bases. Go on you tube- watch how many cops have gotten shot just for pulling a car over. These ...more
By whp (21), East Quogue on Nov 13, 13 1:23 PM
3 members liked this comment
The real waste comes from unnecessary promotions and political patronage!

And why does no one care that this PD continually overspends it's overtime allotment. Maybe the 'new' captain can keep them from perpetually being over budget...god knows Chief Pearce can't.

LPGA tournament my a*#
By Disgustedwithyou (36), Hampton Bays on Nov 13, 13 10:57 AM
I'm sure they do a great job. The problem I have is paying a captain $250,000 a year for basically 200 days of work is plain ridiculous. When you work for a municipality you are a public servant. The police union has made the public tax payers slaves to their tax bills
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 13, 13 1:54 PM
Most municipal unions, including the PBA, are slowly but surely driving local governmental entities into bankruptcy.

The Golden Rule . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 13, 13 2:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
My tax bill for 2012-13 for police is $223.73 and dispatch/ 911 is $19.87- really don't think that is anything to complain about
By whp (21), East Quogue on Nov 13, 13 2:41 PM
2 members liked this comment
no, they are not
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Nov 14, 13 3:20 AM
G makes a good point below about the Detroit bankruptcy, and the effect it may have on pensions and benefits.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 12:48 PM
yup, them damn municipal unions damn near brought the country down in 2007. oops, wait a second, that was Wall Street that did that, wasn't it?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 2:08 PM
The Golden Rule: You mean those who got the goons get the gold?

I think most in Southampton will agree.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 17, 13 9:30 PM
let me get this right, the lpga and sebonack don't pay anybody to work the event and don't pay for the extra police needed for the event. AND they don't pay any school taxes. What a sweet deal for them and the millionaire club members that they swindle. I didn't know that golf courses are in the same category as religious institutions. Unbelievable and outrageous!!!!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 13, 13 5:12 PM
You mean well but you are uninformed.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Nov 17, 13 8:40 PM
How am I am misinformed? What have I said that isn't true.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 19, 13 9:17 AM
Where did you come up with Sebonac not paying taxes?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 13, 13 5:14 PM
They don't pay school taxes according to the tuckahoe school district. That all golf courses in the Tuckahoe area DO NOT PAY ANY SCHOOL TAXES!!!!! Part of the reason Tuckahoe school board says why they are going under.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 13, 13 5:20 PM
They are private businesses. Why in the world would they NOT pay property taxes?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 4:26 PM
They all have not-for-profit tax exempt status.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Nov 19, 13 9:00 PM
Wasn't there an article how Pearce and Schurek made the most overtime on the Hurricane and weren't even on the road helping people? So in the same meeting they promote Schurek and transfer funds for overtime, I'd be curious to see how much of the OT is in the new capt's pocket. The town board def has shown its ineptness in the last few promotions, they are making a mockery of the police department and the good men and women who work for it
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 13, 13 5:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
didn't schurek have to give back a few thousand dollars because he said he worked over 150 hours overtime during sandy but really only worked about 80 hours at about 120 dollars an hour while sleeping in his office doing nothing. retire already
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Nov 13, 13 8:50 PM
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Nov 13, 13 8:52 PM
By carson (79), southampton on Nov 13, 13 10:58 PM
Not happy with this? Should've elected Linda Kabot. She's not afraid of dealing with police contracts.
By oystercatcher (126), southampton on Nov 14, 13 12:50 AM
The voting public appears to disagree with you. Three times over.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 4:28 PM
The "voting public" have elected all manner of sycophants, malefactors, philanderers, bigots, drunks, and even outright criminals to public office.

They are not the end all, be all of proper decision making...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 17, 13 9:49 PM
so far, with the exception of "whp", none of you know what you're talking about. Everyone thinks they're an expert in police matters. you have absolutely no clue as to how the SHTPD is run. These fine officers put their lives on the line everyday to protect us. thank God we don't have an area like East LA, CA., but we want them to have the proper equipment and training just in case! someday one or all of you will need the help of southampton's finest!
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Nov 14, 13 1:38 AM
When anything big happens we call the SCPD or the State Police. We we have a homicide or need a chopper its the SCPD. We really don't need a SHPD we should contract with sheriff considering many villages have their own PD, s. Its a joke 250k for mr lazy.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 14, 13 7:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
That is like saying when anything happen in a precint in Suffolk County, they call SCPD HQ, (which is funded by property taxes levied on every property throughout the county). The precints themselves however are funded only by those property owners in the 5 western towns. And where, pray tell, will the Sherrif get the 500 plus bodies to man the 5 east end town? via your own special civil service list?
Now please tell us when ( other than the fiasco in WHB) the NYS Police are used in lieu of ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 1:38 PM
I hope the SHTPD is watching the bankruptcy case in Detroit. Once approved, it will allow Detroit to shed it's pension liabilities. It could happen here too and will have to with the bloated salaries. Enjoy them now, they will be taken away sooner than later.

Schurek has not worked a summer in a decade.
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 8:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well said about the Detroit bankruptcy.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 12:49 PM
Except you are comparing a city that has been running itself into the ground for 30 + years with the Town of Southampton. As explained to you before PBR, pensions in NY are funded throughout the period of employment. Those funds are placed in a retirement fund controlled by the NYS Comptroller. It is the wealthiest retirement fund in the United States and those funds cannot be used for any other purpose but to pay retirement bebefits. Once an employee retires from the town, there are NO MORE expenses ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 1:34 PM
The general point remains that most municipal employee unions pursue myopic goals fueled by greed (yes, just like the banks etc. which led to the 2007/2008 financial crisis).

In this pursuit they not alone.

Many wrongs do not make a right . . .

Greed will be our undoing . . .

Have a good weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 2:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
I never claimed the municipal unions were doing anything wrong. The point , sir, is that what you perceive as being the reason for municipal defaults are entirely off base. If that's all you got to hang your hat on, you need to do some research.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 13 4:24 PM
Relax, I was also making a general point, which includes future benefits and wages. Your point is well taken. Do you need to beat it into the ground?

Your sure get touchy around the LEO issues . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 5:14 PM
Blank, it appears that you should be doing a little research yourself. In 2009 after 5 years of wild Heaney spending that doubled the budget in that short period, when Southampton discovered their books were cooked by Heaney and Charlene Kagel (forensic accountant's findings) and massive deficits were concealed that blew up, the Comptroller and the Board realized they might not even have the operating cash to complete the year.

Kabot ordered a total hiring freeze and expenditure freeze, ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 14, 13 6:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
How are we supposed to be safe with guys like Sickles and Kiernan remaining on the force?
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 5:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
The PBA doesn't like the promotion but I bet none of them has ever turned away a promotion . The new salary is a bit over 168k a year. some in the PBA make more than that after milking the OT . And all have the same benefits .
28 years of of public service is a long time with many sacrifices and deserve recognition and compensation
Look at your tax bills and how much you pay to the police department and tell me if some of you don't spend that much on a dinner out . Now take a look at ...more
By Urit (24), Quogue on Nov 14, 13 10:58 PM
I don't care how much my police taxes are.What I care about is a public employee making a quarter million dollars a year for basically a part time job. This one particular cop hasn't sacrificed anything not even his summers for the department. Notice how these wishy washy politicians make it the captain decision right after the election. I thought ATH was better than that. I'm sorry I ever voted for her
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 15, 13 7:30 PM
"Look at your tax bills and how much you pay to the police department and tell me if some of you don't spend that much on a dinner out."

This has been a long time cop canard they pull out of their deep canard bag everytime taxpayers complain of the STPD looting of the Town Treasury. The Police Commissioner of the NYPD makes about $180K supervising about 26,000 cops who are battling real crime every day instead of cops in the Town pretending they lay their lives out everyday where their ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 15, 13 12:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
You people absolutely amaze me how you think there is NO crime in our pretty little township. Again the press picks and chooses what they put into the paper. You have know idea what the patrol officers deal with. Hate to break to you but you have lots of drugs, burglaries, domestic violence, drunk drivers etc.... The list goes on and on so get your head out of the sand!!
By whp (21), East Quogue on Nov 16, 13 1:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
If they don't like their jobs they can quit. If the top salary for a cop was 80 k instead of 140 k you would still have thousands of applicants. It is far more dangerous to be a costruction worker than a cop so don't tell me of the bs dangerous work they do. These part time winers need to find new work if they don't like it.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 16, 13 6:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
CH12 and NDay are running a 2 part investigative report on the SHTPD this weekend. More lawsuits, more corruption. Be sure to watch or read it.
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 15, 13 8:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Tuesday spread is very interesting, and includes audio clips.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 15, 13 1:23 PM
Only indictments flowing from the ongoing investigation of the STPD by the Suffolk County Government Corruption Bureau will have any effect on this place. As the Channel 12 report reveals, the Town Board has long been complicit in departmental malfeasance.

On another topic, since the inflation rate is 1.2% this year, what is the rationale behind offering the already-stupendously-overpaid cops a 2.0% pay raise. That's 166% of what they should get to maintain the same pay rate in constant ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 16, 13 12:58 PM
Here we go again. Boo hoo she didn't get elected ...again, so let me turn my misery into ridiculing town employees. It's funny you were hardly being negative prior to the election but, it's on now huh.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Nov 16, 13 2:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
And remember HH doesn't think drinking and driving is a crime...
By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Nov 17, 13 7:13 PM
No, that's not what HHS said.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 17, 13 9:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
By Bayman3142 (249), Southampton on Nov 18, 13 3:36 PM

The population in the town has grown dramatacky in the past years but yet the police department has shrunk . All of you complainers about how much a policemen makes . Look into howmuch overtime you pay because you don't want to hire new cops to cover the demand . On the other hand any new hire requires new benefits and that would cost more money . So what would you rather have? one officer more money to work harder , spend more time making sure you're safe but less time home with his familly ...more
By Urit (24), Quogue on Nov 17, 13 3:20 PM
None of the above. The cops have taken advantage of the situation, and no employee of SHT should make more than 100 k a year. Most Americans are having problems getting medical insurance and keeping a job while these guys always wsnt something. Not to mention the corruption some of these cops have caused.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 17, 13 4:27 PM
Urit, your options assume that the current salaries and benefits are written in stone. A municipal bankruptcy would change all that.

Moreover, if total labor costs had not been so high for decades now, the Town would have been able to hire more officers and avoid the overtime costs.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 17, 13 4:44 PM
Make us safer? Nonsense. Glorified traffic cops.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Nov 17, 13 8:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
dnice, your conclusion seems a bit extreme?

However -- could the SHT PD give us an update on the hit-and-run death of Sister Walsh SEVENTY weeks ago as of this evening?

What was the real reason they waited 11 days to release the ID and photo of the alleged driver, and was he the real driver, in fact?

Could the SHT Supervisor update us on this, and the status of the investigation, now that the election is over?

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 18, 13 4:10 AM
PBR, yes it is extreme, only slightly though;) Posted out of frustration.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Nov 18, 13 7:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Great question.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Nov 19, 13 1:38 PM
Now tell us what is required for a municipal bankruptcy, and how this story or any of the comments support that as a possibility.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 13 7:33 PM
Relax, the conversation took some twists and turns, which is entirely human . . .

Sorry it did not fit in the boxes inside your head . . .

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 19, 13 7:38 PM
So you cant show a link to municipal bankruptcy, how it is caused and how Southampton can end up there? I thought as much.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 13 9:37 PM
Dots above.

Try connecting them . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 20, 13 5:17 AM
2 members liked this comment
You don't have to be a genius to figure out 10k a month per cop is unsustainable for a pension. Prople are tapped out Blank soon as we have the next financial meltdown pensions will be toast. We are burning a trillion a year keeping this ponzi scheme economy going. Little old Southampton or NYS will not be immune from what financisl meltdown we have on the way.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 22, 13 7:22 PM
1 member liked this comment