hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Aug 13, 2014 11:01 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Board Approves Raise For Mayor, Severance Pay For Police Chief

Aug 13, 2014 1:31 PM

One month after being sworn into office, Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore now is just one step away from doubling her salary after the Village Board altered village law and approved a budget transfer during its meeting last Thursday evening, August 7.

The board also signed off on a severance pay package for former Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean, who left the position at the end of June after nearly 15 years, authorizing Ms. Moore to approve a one-time payment of more than $400,000 to the longtime head of the village’s police department.

Both items were approved unanimously during the meeting held at Westhampton Beach Village Hall on Mill Road.

Ms. Moore’s salary is set to increase from $12,562 to $25,124 next month, but that is subject to a permissive referendum, meaning a petition with signatures from at least 20 percent of registered voters in the village could block the resolution.

“I thought it was appropriate to restore the salary to what it was previously—it was put to a vote and the trustees agreed,” Ms. Moore said on Tuesday morning. “If the community doesn’t agree with what happened at the meeting, they have the ability to file a petition within the next 30 days. I thought that was a fair way to handle it.”

Assuming that a petition is not submitted to the village, Ms. Moore’s salary will be on par with the starting pay of her predecessor, Conrad Teller. During a round of budget cuts in 2010, Mr. Teller voluntarily cut his pay nearly in half, from $24,930.71 to $12,568.94.

Ms. Moore has sought to have her salary increased since before she entered office as she began exploring the logistics shortly after defeating Mr. Teller in the June election. She found that not only had her salary been set in the village’s $9.76 million budget for 2014-15, but even that was higher than it legally should have been as a long-forgotten village law from 1986 set the mayor’s salary at $11,000, meaning that both Mr. Teller and his predecessor, Robert Strebel, who increased his pay to $22,000 in 2001, were technically in violation of village code.

Last Thursday night, the board repealed Chapter 35 of the village code, which set the mayor’s salary at $11,000 flat. The board also passed a resolution reallocating excess funds from the village’s contingency account to make up the difference in Ms. Moore’s salary for this year, while also resolving to set the mayor’s pay annually in the village budget—which has long been the protocol both in Westhampton Beach and throughout New York State, albeit technically against village code.

“That’s a big position, and she’s already realizing it—she spends a lot of time working,” Village Trustee Hank Tucker said of the new mayor. “Ten cents an hour is probably what it worked out to before, and I didn’t do the math, but now it’s probably, like, 25 cents an hour.

“I don’t think that position is something someone does for the money,” he continued. “That would just be bizarre.”

Trustee Patricia DiBenedetto said Ms. Moore should not have to collect lower pay simply because Mr. Teller did. “Conrad Teller’s decision to cut his own salary was an individual decision and should have no impact on mayors that come after him or mayors that came before him,” she said.

To the chagrin of a handful of meeting attendees who let out gasps of surprise, the board authorized the payment of $403,714.28, minus taxes and other withholding, to Mr. Dean for all of the unused sick, personal and vacation days he accrued over the past 15 years.

The amount being paid to Mr. Dean is based on his per diem pay rate of about $722, Westhampton Beach Treasurer and Clerk Elizabeth Lindtvit said Tuesday, declining to say how many days Mr. Dean was owed. At that rate, Mr. Dean was owed for roughly 559 days—or approximately 37 unused days a year over the course of his career.

“As far as we’re concerned, the only figure we’re going to release is the total we’re paying him,” Ms. Lindtvit said after consulting Ms. Moore. “I just don’t think people need to know how many sick days, personal days and vacation days he had.”

Such information is part of the public record, and the village did not immediately respond to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking a breakdown of unused sick, personal and vacation days owed Mr. Dean.

Mr. Dean could not be reached for comment this week.

Ms. DiBenedetto, who explained that the amount paid is determined by Mr. Dean’s salary and was confirmed by a labor attorney, said no one should have been surprised by the total amount owed to him. Mr. Dean, who retired in the final year of his five-and-a-half-year contract, was set to make $167,507 for 2014-15.

“People who have moans and groans, it shows that they are uninformed and they haven’t been coming to meetings,” she said.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Maria Moore is going to be a fun mayor. First up, she doubles her own salary (with the bobble-heads abutting her on the dais, going "Uh-huh, uh-huh.") Next up, the Mendelsohn (forbidden-by-zoning-regulations-meant-to-encourage-a-vibrant-village-commercial-center) supermarket. Then, of course, there's the eruv.

Poor Westhampton Beach.

Here's a suggestion for Westhampton Beach residents. Sign the petition opposing Mayor Moore's 100%+ increase in salary. Let her supporters whose ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 13, 14 12:10 PM
Like I siad before. The prior Mayor and Dean are laughing all the way to the bank. It would be interesting to know what the Chief got paid each year in benefits and pay plus the $403,714.28 for unused sick and vacation time. Especially since he was rarely to be seen. What a disgrace and abuse of taxpayer money and the Village let him get away with it.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Aug 13, 14 12:29 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tracer, WHB on Aug 13, 14 1:01 PM
Well well well Realistic... You are right FOR ONCE!! Chief Dean is laughing all the way to the bank... at your expense!!! No pun intended. How can you, in 1 sentence say the guy was never at work and then in the next talk about all of the UNUSED sick and vacation time the man was owed? Why didn't you speak up at the meeting and ask the Board who unanimously approved Chief Dean's payout why they are "letting him get away with it"

Highhatsize you are correct. The supporters of Moore should ...more
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Aug 13, 14 2:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
The public employees are bankrupting NY, CA, NJ , Detroit, etc... Stop & Shop just made all employees part time and took away their health insurance.
By longislandhost (34), East Quogue on Aug 13, 14 6:02 PM
You can thank obamacare for that
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on Aug 17, 14 8:20 PM
Let's not just stop at public employees like our police, fire, and sanitation workers. Why don't we add teachers to the mix and we can all fend for ourselves and self-educate.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Aug 14, 14 7:54 AM
The market value teachers have recently graduated, and are working at Best Buy while they live at home with their parents and try to repay their student loans. The only reason teachers make more than their market value is because the unions control the political process in NYS.
By longislandhost (34), East Quogue on Aug 15, 14 7:26 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Aug 14, 14 1:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Pointing out the truth has nothing to do with hate. I don't hate anyone. 70-80% of state and local government spending goes to salaries and benefits. The point is, every civil servant can be replaced at at least 40% savings with no degradation in service. Private sector incomes are based upon what the market will bear. Public salaries and benefits are the result of generations of progressive political dominance of unions over the political process.

Regarding your comment about me, ...more
By longislandhost (34), East Quogue on Aug 15, 14 7:36 AM
Maria Moore is doing the job she has been elected by the voters of WHB to do. I do not think that $25,000 is in any way an inappropriate salary for a position with the level of responsibility it entails. What I find laughable is the headline and the lede intended to inflame and provoke . Talk about a tempest in a teacup...Let's give this smart, capable woman an opportunity to do her job and help her execute some positive changes for the community. [And no, she doesn't need to "prove" herself before ...more
By CountryMouse (8), westhampton beach on Aug 15, 14 7:12 PM
From yesterday's NY Post:
Village to give retiring millionaire cop a huge, ‘criminal’ payout
By Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein
August 16, 2014 | 10:28pm
Charge this cop with robbery.

Ray Dean, police chief of the 2.9-square-mile village of Westhampton Beach, is retiring with a bag of cash.

He is getting $403,714 for 15 years’ worth — or 531 days — of unused sick, vacation and personal time. The payment amounts to 4 percent of the ...more
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Aug 17, 14 12:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
When are the people on the east end going to wake up? Prior comments in this thread and the newspaper article are correct. Public employee salaries and benefits are way out of line. Police are, by far, the worst example but they are not alone. The well is going to run dry some day but! until then, these guys will laugh all the way to the bank. Thank goodness for the 1% who have so much money they can carry the rest without concern: unless, of course, you think a $10,000 property tax bill on a ...more
By Doug Penny (64), Lexington, Virginia on Aug 22, 14 6:21 PM
the REAL disgrace about Dean's $400k 'severance' is that part of that money is figured into his former end of contract date in 2015! so now the WHB Board is paying people for FUTURE monies when they are no longer employed!!!! I'll bet the Village's 'rank and file' are thrilled!
By splinter (14), southampton on Aug 23, 14 8:44 PM