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Jun 23, 2014 6:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Police Chief To Retire Next Week

Jun 25, 2014 10:39 AM

Before even being sworn into office, Westhampton Beach Mayor-Elect Maria Moore is already facing her first challenge: finding a new commander for the Village Police Department.

Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean announced Monday that he will retire from his post on Monday, June 30—a day before Ms. Moore will be sworn in at Village Hall—ending his 15-year career as the head of the police force.

Chief Dean’s announcement comes less than 11 months before his current, five-and-a-half-year contract expires next May and means that he will forfeit the majority of his $167,507 salary for 2014-15. He will, however, retain all his agreed upon benefits.

“It’s been nothing but an honor and a privilege to serve the community I was born and raised in, and it’s been an honor to work with the men and women I served with,” Chief Dean said Monday night.

The 53-year-old chief met privately with three of the four Village Board members on Monday to disclose his decision, which comes on the heels of Friday’s village election in which Ms. Moore ousted longtime Mayor Conrad Teller—a former police chief himself and, in recent years, and advocate for Chief Dean.

On Monday, Mr. Teller said Chief Dean had submitted his retirement papers about “three or four weeks ago.” Village Clerk Elizabeth Lindtivt said she received an email from the New York State Retirement System on June 10 informing her that Chief Dean had put in for his retirement earlier in the month. The mayor noted that, prior to this past Monday, the chief could have withdrawn his resignation.

With just days before the end of Chief Dean’s tenure and the beginning of her own, Ms. Moore said Tuesday afternoon that she is planning on appointing an interim chief before launching a larger search for a permanent replacement. She also noted that she must first consult with the other village trustees.

Ms. Moore also said she does not have a preferred candidate to take on the job of interim chief, and said she has not yet decided whether Westhampton Beach Lieutenant Trevor Gonce, the second in command to Chief Dean and the outgoing chief’s recommended replacement, will be offered to top post.

“The information I have about Lt. Gonce is limited to what I learned from him directly and from Chief Dean today,” she said, explaining that she met with Chief Dean and Lt. Gonce on Tuesday to discuss the forthcoming vacancy. “I need to discuss it with the other trustees, but Lt. Gonce certainly seems like a capable and dedicated officer.”

Lt. Gonce did not return calls seeking comment this week.

As for Chief Dean, he said that he and his family reached the decision that he would retire “a long time ago,” and insists that he would have gone through with his retirement regardless of who won Friday’s mayoral election.

“I submitted my paperwork and I told them I was leaving,” Chief Dean said. “It didn’t matter whether it was Maria Moore or Mickey Mouse that was elected, I was going to retire.”

When contacted Monday, Village Trustees Hank Tucker, Ralph Urban and Patricia DiBenedetto all said that Chief Dean met with them one on one at Village Hall earlier that day to announce his intention to retire in a week. Trustee Charlie Palmer, who was not in Village Hall on Monday, said he was not aware of Chief Dean’s decision until a reporter called him on Monday evening.

Mr. Palmer, Ms. Moore’s running mate on the Progress For Westhampton Beach party line in Friday’s election, has lambasted the village police department since his first year in office for not seeking accreditation, a voluntary state-run program that evaluates participating agencies on 133 criteria based on preferred policing practices.

“I think as far as a different path to take, it’s a good thing,” Mr. Palmer said of Chief Dean’s retirement. “Maybe he doesn’t want to go down the new road, in which case it’s good to bring in someone new who does.”

Although she said it is troubling that the chief is leaving right before July 4th holiday weekend, one of the busiest of the year in the village, and also wishes that Mr. Teller had told the other members of the Village Board sooner so they would have had more than a week to start planning for Chief Dean’s departure, Ms. Moore does not share Mr. Palmer’s opinions of Chief Dean. She also does not begrudge his decision to step down.

“Chief Dean has dedicated a lot of years to the service of this village and if he thinks it’s time for him to move on, then it probably is,” she said. “We will find someone to step into his shoes and run the police department.”

Chief Dean said he does not think it was necessary to tell the trustees when he first submitted his paperwork because he reports directly to the mayor, and noted that Mr. Teller was free to tell the Village Board if he so chose. Also, he said he does not consider one week’s notice too short a time, stating that he thinks he is leaving behind a qualified replacement in Lt. Gonce.

“It’s been no secret—my recommendation is Lt. Trevor Gonce,” Chief Dean said. “He’s the most qualified, the most experienced, he’s the one I’ve been grooming all along to take my place. I wanted to make sure there was a qualified successor and Lt. Gonce is it.”

Mr. Teller, who will be leaving office himself at the close of business on Monday, June 30, said it will be up to Ms. Moore and the trustees to eventually hire a permanent replacement. The mayor did note that it is customary for the next highest ranking officer—in this case, Lt. Gonce—to serve as acting chief until a successor is named.

Ms. DiBenedetto said she does not have anyone in mind to fill the position and the topic has not been discussed among board members, as they expected to be involved in negotiating Chief Dean’s next contract in the fall.

“When you look at the chain of command, you always have to look at everybody from the top down and see who’s the best qualified and then go from there,” she said. “This definitely is not a decision I was expecting to be making right now.”

After spending 15 years as a Southampton Town Police officer and less than a year as a Westhampton Beach Village Board member, Chief Dean was appointed chief of police in 1999, succeeding Mr. Teller. During his time in office, Chief Dean has weathered frugal village budgets and a dwindling police force—he now has about a dozen active duty officers—while still upgrading technology with the help of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to “modernize” the department as a whole.

The chief also had to endure several political storms as well, primarily those created by his contracts, as well as his sick days and overtime pay, along with disciplinary action filed against two members of his police force.

Despite being hired as chief in 1999, Chief Dean did not get his first contract until 2004, a nine-year deal that was retroactive to the beginning of his tenure. That accord was controversial both because of its length and the amount he was to be paid, which was well into the six figures.

After his first contract expired in 2009, the chief worked without a new agreement for the next two years as board members grappled with its terms. In 2011, the board approved a new five-and-a-half year deal, retroactive to January 1, 2009, and which included a clause that guaranteed he would continue making the same base salary of $167,507 as long as he held the position and until a new deal was inked.

Chief Dean said he will be glad to have more time to relax and spend with his wife, Annie, and their two adult children, Matt Dean, who lives in New York City, and Jacqueline Brower, who lives in Virginia.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments I was able to achieve during my time here,” he said. “I’m more proud to have been able to serve the community and I’m extremely proud of the men and women I’ve been able to serve with. I’m going out with a group of tremendous police officers.”

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Another over paid glorified meter maid gone. Now we can give him 100 g's a year for life tax free. The avg per capita in this country is 53 k. Anyone see a problem? ???
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 23, 14 7:12 PM
2 members liked this comment
> "The avg per capita in this country is 53 k. Anyone see a problem? ???"

So that $53k per capita figure includes those who DON'T earn it, yes?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 23, 14 7:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nice to see Chief as his always cheerful self. You wont be giving him squat. Since he was hired as a police officer, contributions have been made in his name to the NYS Police Retirement System. Those contributions are based on life expectancy, salary earned, years required for retirement, etc. There are no pension costs for the village once he retires. Carry on.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 23, 14 8:21 PM
2 members liked this comment

You know ... It's a funny thing about "choices"...
We All Have them and in turn Make them..
Some choose to clean pools..
Others commute to Wall St seeking their fortunes...
Others clam, landscape,teach, or perhaps sell real estate...
Ray chose to strap on a gun and leave his family with no promise that his odds. Were always in his favor to return home in one piece...
Critics slept while he was In a PD unit with oxygen and advanced first aid training to respond to you ...more
By kahuna (70), Tampa on Jun 23, 14 8:28 PM
I don't care what anybody else does in the private sector. Paying people with tax dollars with money we don't have is criminal. Blank your wrong. When the state pension fund is bust we will pay again!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 23, 14 8:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Once again, Chief, please cite how I am wrong.
And please for the umpteenth time, it is 'you're' as in 'you are' not "your" as in your inability to find anyone to agree with you.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 23, 14 10:04 PM
"Paying people with tax dollars with money we don't have is criminal."

Brilliant! So all the people at every level of government, military included, should work for free until we find some other way to pay them? Contributions, anyone?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 23, 14 11:42 PM
Chief Dean has been an outstanding asset to this Village- he has cleaned up & has ran a great department. Wishing him all of the luck and happiness!
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 23, 14 8:56 PM
Ray earned his retirement and deserves every penny he gets in the future.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 23, 14 11:40 PM
Actually he owes Teller for the sweet pay package as does his sister at the beach.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 24, 14 7:36 AM
Possibly now we can get a real Chief in this Village who earns his pay and doesnt sit in his office- or home- or wherever all day. I didnt know who this guy was until I saw his picture on the front page of Newsday. He should be ashamed of his performance or should I say non-performace all the while collecting a fat compensation package.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 24, 14 7:39 AM
This guy almost makes as much as the NYC commissioner. The NYC force has 30 k cops and thousands of vehicles protecting 10 million people. Anyone see a problem?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 24, 14 8:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
Once again Chief, please tell me where I am wrong.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 14 3:28 PM
to chief1-I see no problems
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 24, 14 9:55 AM
Ray Dean is a stand up guy and cleaned out the WHB PD. he should be commended and thanked by the Board for his dedication to the Village. Wish him all the best in his retirement.
By southfork11960 (14), Southampton on Jun 24, 14 10:04 AM
Congratulations Ray, for your hard work and dedication to the Village of WHB. Forever proud to have known you.
By sandy5816 (6), Wesley Chapel on Jun 24, 14 10:45 AM
Realistic - if you don't or did not know who Ray Dean was prior to seeing his picture posted, it shows how OUT OF TOUCH with the Village YOU actually are. Chief Dean has not only served as the Village Police Chief for 15 years, he was born and raised in this Village, he is seen at every single football game at the High School, he is seen at all of the local establishments eating dinner with his family, he is seen up and down Main Street on a daily basis, and as every person in the Village and outside ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 14 12:44 PM
The same idiots that think this guys salary is ok also wonder why they cant afford to live here. The guy was making over a thousand a day with benefits for each day worked! No problem lol
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 24, 14 1:00 PM
2 members liked this comment
What would be fair compensation and why?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 14 1:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ray Dean makes the same as all the chiefs in the Villages and Towns on the east end....just wondering, why do you not comment on their salaries? Oh, yeah, I forgot, your not suppose to pay government workers tax dollars, that makes a lot of sense. Good luck Ray, you deserve that pension and also good luck to you chief with those mental health issues.
By Sug Tonmi (25), southampton on Jun 24, 14 1:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
Beachbme ur right on. As for the salary Sug Tonmi ur right on also, as a matter of fact it's a little on the low side compared to the others. Compared to what the sgts make in his own dept it's pretty equal to the salary structure of the dept with PO's making between 105,000 to 115,000, sgts 130-140 and lt 145-155 and his at 167. I also agree with kahuna we all have choices. If u have a problem with the system then take a Civil Service test but Realsitic ur so out of touch that you probably don't ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 14 3:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
"reaslistic", who isn't, is the village gadfly who strongly dislikes Connie Teller. He is making an issue of this only because of that. "wouldn't know who he is" are you kidding us?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 14 3:30 PM
What is chief1s problem. Anyone who worked 30 years and was promoted to a top position deserves a pension equal to 3/4 of his highest pay and life time benefits. All state employees enjoy these same benefits-they earned them.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 24, 14 4:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
interesting and wonderful debate here in 27east comments section about "entitlements" and the business of government indeed !

..unfort for me it will be too dangerous to hold my breath for my entitlements
By david h (405), southampton on Jun 25, 14 8:42 AM
Gooooooooodddd riddens!
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jun 24, 14 4:25 PM
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 14 5:56 PM
Learned that from my ma and pa (I'm from the south) .
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jun 25, 14 8:26 AM
When the Puppet Master leaves so must the Puppet.
By 1whbny (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 14 5:13 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By 1whbny (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 14 5:15 PM
Well then Good Riddens to the puppet master herself & her puppets live from Oneck!
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 14 6:07 PM
got issues?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 24, 14 8:52 PM
For those who complain about his salary believe that whomever the new Mayor, bicycle Charlie and the puppet master on Oneck bring in won't make the same or close to the same salary are very naive. That salary is close to what the Lts make in all depts around here. For those complaining about the " good old boy network", as it was called , does that mean if they make Gonce or Laube Cheif they are part of it, they were both raised here in Westhampton. Will all the complaining continue or is this ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 14 9:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hollywood- You are absolutley correct on every account. Why would Sgt. Laube become Chief over Lieutenant Gonce? As a taxpayer of the Village I see a very big problem with that. I am not sure a Sgt. especially that Sgt., has the where with all to run this Village anywhere but in to the ground? I can see this Village going in reverse and Mayor Moore, I do believe your campaign was promised for PROGRESS?
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 14 10:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
The new Mayor is a breath of fresh air. Teller and Dean are legacy lifelong WHB residents who think the world owes them something. Now dont get me wrong. I give credit to Dean for negotiating a sweet pay package. And Teller gave it to him on a silver platter. What I have a problem with is Dean hiding in his office all day and not managing his Dept. The circus that was created by Dean and Teller is disgusting and made WHB a laughing stock of the east end. So you saw Dean getting his coffee in the ...more
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 25, 14 1:19 PM
Realistic --- the new Mayor MAY BE a breath of fresh air, no one is stating that she is not. It is GREAT that Teller and Dean are lifelong WHB residents, as are Lt. Gonce and Sgt. Laube - are you insinuating that THEY are also going to do the same? I know I dont want a Police Chief coming in unfamiliar with the area, I want someone who knows the streets, the residents, and the business establishments. You are always full of accusations that have no merit. Teller and Dean have NOT made this Village ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 14 1:43 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Jun 25, 14 10:53 AM
"Lifelong residents who believe the world owes them something" what is that suppose to mean? Realistic if you feel this way and don't like it here then move. The only one on here that sounds like they believe something is owed to them is you, Realistic. Sounds to me like the "progress" you seek from the the puppeteers puppets gets you your "lights on", your grocery store, or village codes rewritten to help you and finally they will take the threat of Jail time from violations, which then lets everybody ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 14 3:06 PM
Hollywood. You smoking something? State the facts as I did. Stop the BS. You sound angry. Puppets? What the heck are you talking about? Argue with me about the performance of Teller and Dean as I did. Show me where I was wrong. Who ever said anything about village codes or lights on. Threat of jail time ? Are you NUTS?. Sober up- get your facts - formulate an intelligent response (consult w beach girl). And respond.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 25, 14 10:13 PM
Can you give us an example of what it is that you believe Chief Dean did NOT do that he should have?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 30, 14 9:33 PM
Realistic I believe you are the one in need of a reality check. As far as facts I have not seen any from you in any of your writings so far just comments about sweetheart deals, good old boy network and lifelong residents expecting to be owed something, those aren't facts those are accusations. I've already provided you with facts about the salary schedule of the PD. Now you want more. Ok here we go, as far as comments about lights on, codes, no jail time etc those were the topics your " breath ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 14 11:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Where is this Laube thing coming from? The Lt./Executive Officer is the next in line for the position. And if he was not available is there not a senior Sgt to Laube in the department? Hopefully this guy wouldn't step on TWO of his colleagues behind their back for his own ego!
By ThatsIncredible (4), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 14 11:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
One would hope not!! Doesn't really make for a very respectful leader.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 14 4:42 PM
Also the puppet thing was brought into this by others on this feed.
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Jun 26, 14 11:31 AM
1 member liked this comment