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Nov 17, 2010 12:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Extends Deadlines For Parrish Replacement

Nov 17, 2010 12:04 PM

The Southampton Village Board opted last week to push back the deadline for proposals for the re-use of the historic Parrish Art Museum property in the heart of the village, after an initial request for proposals came up empty.

The museum, which has been a centerpiece of the village for more than a century, is building a new home in Water Mill. The Village Board sought proposals from consultants who would submit recommendations for the re-use of the soon-to-be-vacated museum space on Jobs Lane, hoping to attract tenants from the arts community. When no proposals were submitted, the timetable was extended.

At their last meeting on November 10, board members agreed to delay the deadline for the submittal of proposals from last Friday, November 12, until December 31—a seven-week postponement. As a result, the winning firm will not be notified until February 22, 2011, at the earliest.

On Tuesday, after the board pushed back the deadline, one firm did apply, and four firms had earlier expressed interest, according to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch.

Jen Mesiano, the village’s grants coordinator, said this week that the municipality’s request for proposals, first issued in mid-October, will soon be posted on the New York Foundation for the Arts jobs listings webpage. The request asks consultants to prepare detailed recommendations for the re-use of the village-owned facility, which is expected to be vacated by the Parrish Art Museum in the summer of 2012, when the gallery relocates to its new site. Its lease at 25 Jobs Lane expires in October 2012.

Mayor Mark Epley, who has stressed the long-term significance of finding the Parrish’s replacement, said he would like to see at least 10 strong proposals from which to choose.

He said he met last week with Parrish Art Museum officials, who reported that they are moving full-speed ahead on the construction of its new gallery. He also said the Parrish has no plans yet for the former Rogers Memorial Library building on Jobs Lane, which is owned by the museum.

Police Officer Terminated

Following an executive session last week with Southampton Village Police Chief William Wilson Jr., the Village Board fired Police Officer Jennifer White, who had served slightly more than four months of her 18-month probationary period.

Ms. White’s termination took effect last Thursday, November 11. She was hired as a full-time officer in early July and was scheduled to earn an annual salary of $54,000. She had served as a seasonal police officer for the department since March.

Chief Wilson would not provide a reason for the decision. “The administration of the police department and the board decided not to continue with her probationary employment,” he said. “Other than that, I can’t comment, because it’s an employee matter.”

Chief Wilson did note that such events are not uncommon. “Like any other workplace, people come in, people go out. It’s just the nature of the beast,” he said in a phone interview last week.

Mr. Epley said Ms. White’s termination was related to her performance, adding that the board’s decision was not based on a single incident. “She didn’t meet the standards the department was expecting,” the mayor said.

“She’s a local girl,” he continued. “Her family’s local. I’d prefer to keep it in the company. We hoped something like this would work out, but it just didn’t.”

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Ms. White declined to discuss the situation. “I have no comment on that, actually,” she said.

New Emergency Vehicles

Also during last week’s meeting, the Village Board agreed to purchase a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe for $55,779 for use as the Southampton Fire Department’s chief’s vehicle, replacing a 2003 model. The sole bid came from Buzz Chew Chevrolet of Southampton.

First Assistant Chief Rod Pierson, who is next in line to become fire chief after current Chief Roy “Buddy” Wines IV’s term expires on December 31, told the board that the vehicle is used primarily as a command post. He explained that it is equipped with a variety of communication devices, extinguishers and other equipment, and used to respond to about 600 calls annually. He said such vehicles have a lifetime of about eight years.

Approximately $70,000 had been budgeted for the purchase, and the fire department rejected more environmentally friendly options because of their “unprovenness,” 1st Assistant Chief Pierson said.

Village Board member Paul Robinson, the liaison to the fire department, said the purchase had already been approved by the Southampton Fire District, which will cover about 40 percent of the cost. He added that there is a special capital reserve fund for such purchases.

The Village Board also agreed to request bids for a new first-responder vehicle, a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, for the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Corps, at the request of Chief Ian King. The bid would be to replace a 2002 Ford Explorer that has had numerous maintenance problems and has been involved in two accidents, Chief King said. The vehicle, which is equipped with a variety of emergency equipment, such as a defibrillator and advanced life support medications, is used on approximately 420 calls per year.

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