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Jul 6, 2011 10:15 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Officials To Revisit Secondary Employment Policy

Jul 6, 2011 10:39 AM

New Southampton Village Police Chief Thomas Cummings and Mayor Mark Epley plan to reevaluate the Village Police Department’s policy regarding secondary employment, and one idea being floated would forbid officers from doing any private security work in their off hours, at least in the village.

Mr. Epley, who was recently reelected and was reappointed to another year as police commissioner on Tuesday night, said that many of the problems the department has dealt with over the past few decades have been related to secondary employment and, specifically, security work. “You end up having people working together who are competing against each other for different bids, for different contracts. It’s not good,” he said. “It’s not healthy within a small department.”

The mayor pointed to controversies surrounding Detective Sergeant Herman Lamison, former Police Chief William Wilson Jr. and former Sergeant Christopher Broich. Det. Sgt. Lamison and Mr. Broich each run competing security companies; Chief Wilson also ran a private security firm, and although he folded it upon his 2006 appointment to chief, his wife now operates a security firm. Mr. Broich was once a part of Chief Wilson’s firm before he launched his own. Mr. Broich was fired from the force for misconduct in 2007 and has alleged in multiple lawsuits that he should not have been stripped of his badge. He has also charged that Det. Sgt. Lamison was promoted to his current post, while he himself was bypassed. The mayor intimated that the fact that all three men had competing interests in security firms contributed to the discord.

The idea of disallowing security work by police officers in the village has surfaced before. In fact, not long after he was appointed, former Chief Wilson had proposed that the Village Board adopt a policy prohibiting all secondary employment in the village—an idea that this week he called “fair and equitable across the board for all employees.” The board, however, never carried it to fruition.

Reached on Tuesday, Chief Wilson said he believes any policy change would likely have to apply to all forms of secondary employment, not just one job type.

Discussions between Chief Cummings and Mr. Epley are still in their infancy, although the mayor said the pair would probably sit down and review the policy as soon as this week, and that the motivation for the review was the arrival of the new chief. The policies are traditionally reviewed annually.

Mr. Epley said he favors amending the policy to prohibit officers from performing security work in the village. However, he added that those who already do security work would be grandfathered in.

“I personally have a difficult time going back to them and saying, ‘You were allowed to do this, now you’re not,’” he said.

Chief Cummings, meanwhile, said that police officers doing private security work in the village, while legal, could create ethical dilemmas. He said he has not been involved with security work for at least 16 years. “The law allows for the guys to do security work, but I think that you can run into some ethical conflicts when you’re in the village. So I would say that if a guy chooses to do security, maybe we could get some sort of agreement that they wouldn’t do it within the village,” he said. “I personally think none of the guys should be doing security in the village.” He noted, however, that the Police Benevolent Association would probably be opposed to such a change.

Sergeant David Dorchak, PBA president, declined to comment until he has received a specific proposal.

The current policy, last updated in March 2010, states that officers are allowed to engage in secondary employment, as long as it doesn’t violate any laws or rules and does not constitute a conflict of interest or bring discredit upon the department. Officers may not perform tasks for second jobs while on duty or if their secondary employment is determined to negatively impact their job performance as an officer.

Chief Cummings said he has not yet thoroughly checked everyone’s personnel records, and that issue is not one of his immediate priorities, but said Det. Sgt. Lamison is the only active Village Police officer currently involved in security. Det. Sgt. Lamison’s major account is billionaire industrialist Ira Rennert’s sprawling Sagaponack compound, he said. Det. Sgt. Lamison did not return a request for comment, but the chief noted that he currently does not have to ask approval before he takes every side job. He also said Det. Sgt. Lamison’s work performance has not suffered because of his outside employment.

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"It’s not healthy..."

'nuff said...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 6, 11 11:07 PM
What is the point of changing the rule when the present guys - and most egregious offenders - get grandfathered? If anything this makes their cushy side projects even more valuable, since no other "competitors" will be allowed from hereon out.

Yet another farce.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Jul 7, 11 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
A complex situation which requires time, patience and maturity to resolve.

It may be time to draw some clear lines in the sand, to be fair to everyone.

"Grandfathering" in pre-existing secondary employment contracts may not be in anyone's best interests IMO.

Have a good weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 7, 11 6:55 PM
Chief Tom Cummings himself was part of Chief Wilson's New York Security Group. Cummings also formed his own security company with the PBA Attorney Steven Losquadro in 2007 called "The Carlow Group". Mayor Epley is not going to implement any new work rule in the police department without checking in with Herman Lamison. If Herman don't want the Village is not going to do. It's been that way for some time now.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jul 11, 11 11:13 AM