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Jun 1, 2011 9:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Board Still Undecided On Chief Pick

Jun 1, 2011 10:45 AM

After halving the field to three and bringing in a consultant to interview each finalist for the Southampton Village Police chief position, the Village Board—a single-party body that typically votes in unison—remained at odds this week about whom to appoint.

Even the consultant, John Gallagher, a retired Suffolk County Police commissioner, did not have an immediate recommendation, according to Mayor Mark Epley. Mr. Gallagher was expected to make one as soon as Wednesday, June 1. The board then will meet in executive session to arrive at a decision. Board members are scheduled to next meet on Thursday, June 9, though a special meeting could be called earlier.

The board has 90 days to fill the position, according to Civil Service law, Mr. Epley said. The appointee will then have to pass the Civil Service chief’s exam, which is to be offered next in March 2012.

The candidates are: Captain Thomas Cummings, second-in-command under former Chief William Wilson Jr., who left to head the Southampton Town Police Department last month; Detective Sergeant Herman Lamison, commanding officer of criminal investigations and public relations officer; and Sergeant David Dorchak, president of the Village Police Benevolent Association and a retired Navy commander.

“If I could take all three and put them into a pot and pull out one guy, wow, I would have the greatest chief to walk the face of the Earth,” Mr. Epley said.

The trustees would not reveal their preferred picks, and the mayor said he was still undecided. But when asked what attribute he values most in a police chief, Mr. Epley named command presence and pointed to Det. Sgt. Lamison as possessing that quality.

“Herm Lamison has a presence,” the mayor said. “When he walks into a room, people know he’s there.”

Det. Sgt. Lamison, who is currently training at the FBI National Academy, is also active in the community, working as a boys varsity basketball coach at Southampton High School, for example.

Det. Sgt. Lamison, who is 47 and lives in Shinnecock Hills, is also said to be the candidate who carries the most proverbial baggage of the three.

He has been ticketed and fined for not securing proper permits for work on at least one house of many he owns in and around the village. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense in 2007 for failing to license his private security company and for having hired other police officers without the proper security licenses, for example. For that, the state fined him $37,000.

His name has been splashed across The New York Post, most recently in March, when he was dubbed a “moonlighting king” for his numerous side jobs. The department has maintained that his outside employment has never hindered his police duties, nor broken any laws or regulations.

Mr. Epley acknowledged that these would be factored into the equation. He also said that Det. Sgt. Lamison, if selected, would need to prove he has divested himself from his security company and valet-parking business. He would also somehow need to do something about his multiple properties, which he rents out, since they could present an issue in law enforcement. He added that Det. Sgt. Lamison has a plan to do that.

Trustee Richard Yasztremski and Paul Robinson, however, said they did not think those factors should play a role in the decision.

The last time Det. Sgt. Lamison, who is African-American, was under consideration for a promotion, in 2005, he ended up suing the village, alleging racial discrimination. The suit was settled in 2007 for $25,000.

Det. Sgt. Lamison did not respond to requests for comment.

Capt. Cummings, 47, of Wading River, has been credited with being a loyal executive officer with a wealth of administrative experience. He drafted the revision of the department’s rules and procedures, has been the man behind the scenes in budget drafting, and was instrumental in the agency’s earning state accreditation for the fourth time in 2008.

“I think I’ve progressed along in my career to a point that I just have the knowledge it takes to run the department immediately,” said Capt. Cummings, who is in charge during the transition.

He is the only one of the three candidates to have taken the police chief Civil Service exam, and he ranked first in the department the last two times the chief’s post was vacant.

Sgt. Dorchak, 44, of Hampton Bays, joined the department about a decade after his two fellow contenders, in 1998. The mayor credited his military training with making him efficient, effective and a leader by example.

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what is wrong with this picture??? Give it to the Capt. He is the on that deserves it, and besides who is running while Mr Wilson is at his new post??
By letskeepitreal (15), sagharbor on Jun 5, 11 8:23 PM
Dorchak and Cummings went to Ground Zero on 9/11 and worked at the base of the Twin Towers. Lamison did not participate. Involvement in the community is donating your time and sometimes you own money. Community involvement is not getting paid to park cars, coach basketball or work security. Visibility and recognition rarely amount to real community involvement. Dorchak and Cummings donated all their time to the October PBA Pumpkin Run and all the money went to the DARE program. Command presence ...more
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jun 5, 11 11:02 PM
Looks like Deja Vu all over again..
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 6, 11 2:44 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By mildred (2), southamtpon on Jun 6, 11 11:01 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By mildred (2), southamtpon on Jun 6, 11 11:01 AM
So, if the Det Sgt is hired, will have to get rental permits for the homes he ownes and rents?
By jorobo65 (5), Southampton on Jun 6, 11 11:13 AM
Another slam-dunk that may be rejected by partisan considerations just as in the appointment of Wilson over Tenaglia in Southampton Town.

Does anyone out here get appointed out her on MERIT anymore? Lamison has never passed the civil service exam qualifying him for the job of chief and may never. (Look for another racial discrimination action if he does not.)

Cummings should have been appointed long since. Epley's foot-dragging to try to secure a majority for his friend is an ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 6, 11 12:22 PM
How come this story got buried so fast to page three of the SH news?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jun 6, 11 10:45 PM
Just trying to keep the home page fresh. Lotta news yesterday!
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Jun 7, 11 9:24 AM
By jorobo65 (5), Southampton on Jun 7, 11 8:37 AM