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Apr 26, 2017 12:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

After Delays, New Southampton Town Police Chief Will Start Job On May 1

Newly appointed Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki. JEN NEWMAN
Apr 26, 2017 12:23 PM

It might have taken four months longer than expected, but Southampton Town’s new chief of police is now set to assume the helm of the nearly 100-officer department on Monday, May 1.

Southampton Town Board members officially appointed Steven Skrynecki as police chief on Tuesday night, five months after they announced that they would be hiring the longtime Nassau County Police Chief of Department for the position. But his start date was pushed back three times—most recently in March due to undisclosed “personal reasons,” as per Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman—and Chief Skrynecki had been serving as a part-time police consultant for the town since January.

Chief Skrynecki will earn an annual salary of $185,856, plus benefits, beginning on May 1.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” a smiling Mr. Schneiderman said after board members unanimously voted to appoint Chief Skrynecki. “Things in the transition have gone incredibly smoothly. He’s been very much a part of the department already. It’s turned out to be a really wonderful way to transition.”

Chief Skrynecki was hired by the Town Board in September and originally scheduled to begin his tenure as chief in January. He later asked to push back his start date by several weeks or risk losing accrued vacation time from his former employer, the Nassau County Police Department. The board subsequently awarded Chief Skrynecki a contract as a consultant, allowing him to earn up to $10,000 for his services.

According to Southampton Town Management Services Administrator Russell Kratoville, Chief Skrynecki has not been paid any additional money for his consultant services. Southampton Town Interim Police Chief Lawrence Schurek, who will return as captain of the department on May 1, received an additional $224 per week for his additional duties on top of his base salary of $201,957.

The appointment of Chief Skrynecki came as Mr. Schneiderman and Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera continue to argue over a proposed code change regarding the town’s vacant police commissioner position. Mr. Schneiderman originally wanted to change the code so it reads that the sitting supervisor serves as police commissioner, unless the Town Board appoints someone to the position. Ms. Scalera has raised concerns over the suggested change, stating that such a policy would limit the power of the Town Board, whose five members have traditionally served as police commissioners.

Mr. Schneiderman has since changed course, stating that he would like to eliminate the police commissioner position, which has never been filled since its creation 11 years ago, altogether from the town code. Under his revised suggestion, the supervisor would serve as the primary board liaison to the police department, with all of the Town Board members retaining the power to hire and fire employees.

On Wednesday, Ms. Scalera said she is more comfortable with the supervisor’s revised proposal.

Board members canceled a scheduled public hearing on the supervisor’s original proposal on Tuesday night. Instead, they’ve scheduled another hearing for Tuesday, May 9, at 1 p.m., at Southampton Town Hall during which they are expected to discuss Mr. Schneiderman’s updated proposal.

In 2006, a previous Town Board created the position of police commissioner to act as a chief administrative officer of the police department. However, after a 2007 referendum failed that would have given the position a full salary and powers to hire and fire employees, a commissioner was never appointed by the town.

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So he's finally done feeding at the trough in Northport and is ready to run the SHTPD? Is he sure? Summer is close so why not take that off too at our expense?
By G (342), Southampton on Apr 27, 17 2:42 PM
Best wishes to the new Chief as he takes the helm.

Hopefully in time he can clean up the unresolved investigation into the hit-and-run death of Sister Jackie Walsh on July 9, 2012, almost five years ago. The alleged suspected driver fled to South America, but there has been no definite proof that he was in fact behind the wheel that day on Rose Hill Road in Water Mill.

The release of all investigative material would let us all put this case to rest.

Perhaps it is time ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 27, 17 2:50 PM