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Jun 3, 2009 4:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Board votes behind closed doors

Jun 3, 2009 4:38 PM

The Westhampton Beach Village Board approved a pair of questionable resolutions behind closed doors last week, neither of which is enforceable, according to Mayor Conrad Teller and New York State officials.

One of the resolutions approved by the board following the May 27 work session directed Village Clerk Kathy McGinnis, who was not present at the executive session, to take back all compensatory hours in excess of 200 that had been accrued by Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean as of September 2008. As of that time, Chief Dean had accrued 583.75 hours of compensatory time, which is awarded in lieu of overtime pay whenever he works holidays or more than 40 hours per week.

The motion, which was introduced by Trustee Joan Levan and seconded by Deputy Mayor James Kametler, requests that Ms. McGinnis “recover all compensatory hours in excess of 200” from the police chief. Chief Dean, who is a protected civil servant employee, has been working without a contract since his current one expired on December 31, 2008. He has served as police chief since 1999, working the first five years without a formal contract.

Village officials later explained that Chief Dean started using his accrued time over the past few months and, as of last week’s meeting, had only 203.5 hours of compensatory time remaining. But the resolution approved last week ordered that Ms. McGinnis recover a total of 420.75 hours—forcing 
her to wipe out his compensatory balance and also taking back 217.25 hours of accrued sick time, according to a copy of a letter forwarded to Chief Dean.

Mayor Teller said this week that both resolutions—a second requested that a sergeant’s office at police headquarters be converted into a multipurpose room—are “invalid and unenforceable,” according to Village Attorney Bo Bishop. The resolutions are not legal because Mr. Kametler never specified the reason why board members were entering the closed-door executive session prior to last Wednesday night’s work session, Mayor Teller added.

Both resolutions were approved 4-0. Mayor Teller said he did not cast a ballot on either measure because his vote would not have mattered.

Bob Freeman, an authority on the Open Meetings Law who heads the New York State Committee on Open Government, agreed with the mayor’s assessment, noting that while village boards can vote in executive session, members must offer a specific reason in advance why they are discussing the public business in private. Mr. Freeman added that because Chief Dean’s contract is not part of a collective bargaining agreement, his compensatory hours should have been discussed during the public session of last week’s meeting.

“They shouldn’t have been in executive session in the first place,” Mr. Freeman said.

Mayor Teller explained that the board has been discussing the police chief’s contract, which states that he could accumulate up to 200 hours of compensatory time, for the past few months. Chief Dean can use the hours as he sees fit or, at the time of his retirement, cash out up to 200 hours of compensatory time. Several officials, meanwhile, have noted that other village employees have accumulated more compensatory hours than stated on their respective contracts but have not drawn similar attention from the Village Board.

“It’s been a sore point for a while,” said Mayor Teller, a former Westhampton Beach and Southampton Town police chief who said he disagrees with the board’s decision to take back the time earned by Chief Dean. “You cannot unilaterally take hours away from somebody.”

The mayor added that the second measure, the one approving the change of use of the sergeant’s office at police headquarters, could have been addressed with a letter rather than a resolution.

Chief Dean said on Monday that he has forwarded a copy of the resolution that takes away his compensatory hours to his attorney for review. “It’s in his hands,” Chief Dean said. “I think it’s crystal clear what their intent is,” he added, referring to Ms. Levan and Mr. Kametler, the latter of whom is a former Village Police officer.

Chief Dean and Mr. Kametler have a long and turbulent history that dates back when both worked on the village police force. Some have speculated that Mr. Kametler first sought elected office in 2004 to seek revenge against Chief Dean, who, many say, forced the deputy mayor to retire from the police department.

Chief Dean and Mr. Kametler most recently butted heads in 2007 following an incident in which the deputy mayor illegally fired his registered handgun five times at an opossum in the backyard of his Oak Street home. Chief Dean asked the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office to investigate the incident after former Village Police Lieutenant Trevor Gonce—who has since been demoted by the Village Board—said he did not arrest Mr. Kametler on the night of February 8, 2007, out of fear of “retribution” from the deputy mayor. The DA’s office never filed charges against Mr. Kametler.

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What is legal and right????? Come on - clearly as the village attorney has said they are "invalid and unenforceable". Levan and Tucker must go. They saddled us with a huge library debt for what?? And now they may cost the village legal fees for Chief Dean's attorney. Learn the open meeting laws before you try to do a weasel deal!
By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Jun 1, 09 7:10 PM
"And now they may cost the village legal fees for Chief Dean's attorney."

I think more than that... the board's actions are so obviously illegal, that the Chief may be collecting punative damages down the line!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 1, 09 7:23 PM
Thanks to Ms.Lavan ,Tucker, Kametler,and Birk, our village may very well be paying for more than the library debt!
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 1, 09 8:41 PM
It turns out that all anyone has to do is Google NY Open Meeting Law and READ to realize what is described in this article “the executive session” is a normal part of government and probably was the most prudent way to address these types of issues. What is very peculiar is that both the Mayor (“The Chief”) and his cousin (the Village Attorney) after attending the legal executive session (and not walking out); participating in it and undoubtedly being part of the record; have now decided it’s time ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Jun 2, 09 7:47 AM
Congratulations, it seems you managed to address everything but the point.
By Paramarine (28), Raleigh, NC on Jun 2, 09 9:07 AM
Don't have to Google it, "resident." The link to NYS law was on the Beach blog yesterday. It's

http://www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/openmeetlaw.html#s103.

Look it up, but as Paramarine notes, you seem to be working overtime to avoid the point of this article.

Is the Village Attorney being the "Mayor's cousin" -- which I didn't know -- a disqualifying condition? That would make it tough in small villages out here where long-time residents are often inter-related. My wife's ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 2, 09 9:36 AM
If you are going after the chiefs accumulated time, why isn't the board going after all of the others? Do they owe them something? Is it a quid pro quo?

Also how does resident know that the village attorney didn't tell the board members that they were incorrect in their actions?

Things need to change in the village. The incumbents saddled taxpayers with library debt and now will run up the legal tab for taxpayers.

By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Jun 2, 09 11:27 AM
RESIDENT..Be glad that when you and James Kametler were kicked out of the Police Department by Ray Dean you did so with a retirement.
You were/are a disgrace to anyone who ever wore a tin.
P.S. posting altered PBA documents from when you were President gave it away. I worked with you, I know the things you did.
I dont like Ray Dean but you and James Kametler and a few of the others that recently escaped with pensions should be ashamed at how you acted.
Too James Kametler, I remember ...more
By foundthefacts (8), westhampton on Jun 2, 09 11:35 AM
Resident, the point is your friends broke the law,now they will be held accountable., simple! This meeting was held in secret behind closed doors and that is illegal! You've been playing the relationship game again,who cares who is related to who?As a "resident" you should be more concerned with the possibility of a law suit .
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 2, 09 11:40 AM
Ray is a great guy and the Deans have done a lot for this community; they are good people.

It's too bad that those, of low character, who are in a position of semi-power, have the ability to waste town money on frivilous and vindictive actions.




Stand tall Ray -
By Steven (113), Westhampton on Jun 2, 09 10:26 PM
This closed door meeting just shows what really goes on in Westhampton Beach.
Kametler is a joke. He should have been fired instead of getting a retirement deal and should have been arrested for the stunt he pulled with fireing his gun.He is a disgrace to the community and nothing more.

As far as the new library goes when winter comes lets see how many people are in the new library when its completed. We should also look at how the contract of building library was handed out and what ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 3, 09 9:11 AM
h I'm sure that the board reads this posting and therefore I would hope that they will see the opinion of the readers is that they are not acting in the interest of the people of the village, but rather,acting to fulfill the agenda of which was started by Jim Kametler.The truth of this agenda has been discussed,the bottom line is, Jim thought his friendship with Ray would pay off,when Ray wouldn't play into his hand, he started to attack,truth didn't matter to Jim,he put on his "poor me" act and ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 3, 09 9:13 AM
I don't know Ray Dean, I don't know Jim Kametler, I barely know Connie Teller, I sort of know Bo Bishop (I might even be related to him) but I do know the Open Meetings Law and something about municipal contracts. If they want to validly pass the resolution--do it in open session. If they want to avoid the lawsuit--forget about it. The real problem and the real point of the story should have been compensatory time for management employees. It is pay me now or pay me later and very difficult ...more
By Doug Penny (64), Lexington, Virginia on Jun 3, 09 4:16 PM
Maybe someone should look at Kametkers misuse of power while he was on the police department and lets see how he can explain that away.He should have been fired with no benifits.
He also should not be allowed to have ANY guns after this other stunt with a gun.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 3, 09 5:48 PM
Everyone seems to have Kametlers' number,but,how is it that Le van and Tucker have been caught in his web of deceit? They are the two running for reelection and they are involved in the same game he's playing.Should they not be held responsible as well? If they are reelected we can expect more of the same, perhaps with new members on the board we can begin to bring sanity back to village goverment.
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 3, 09 7:47 PM
When you read about all of this BS: Wouldnt we all be better off without the local Police Department and the Fuddy Duddy Mayor and Town Board, etc. etc.

I can wait for a resolution of combining special voting districts to hit WHB and we can all say good bye to this BS for ever and probably save a lot of money on taxes, too.

How do we start the resolution.
By TIRED (13), whb on Jun 3, 09 11:11 PM
"TIRED"
You are 1000000% right
Look at Newsday artical were dean's new salary will be $188,000 plus a car and I'm sure expences on that car.This is not NYC its more like Mayberry and I'm sure Andy and Barney were not even close to $188,000.00
LETS GET REAL WESTHAMPTON
Lets get rid of the P.D. and the town board
and if you think I'm wrong after the summer sit on Main street all night and see how many P.D. cars you see.
The answer NONE
What about the crime last fall in ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 4, 09 1:20 AM
A village or town is not a special district and wouldn't be subject to that legislation.

And the Newsday story indicated that Chief Dean's salary is in line with other East End Chiefs.

What does it cost to live out here and support a family? What is a living wage in WHB? At what cost do we want our people to be able to live out here?
These are the questions to be asking.

By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Jun 4, 09 10:40 AM
I went to WHB high school with Ray . He's a good guy in my opinion.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jun 4, 09 11:23 AM
lI hope everyone comes out for this election and does the right thing,
Lets get rid of this negativity and there sure is a lot of anger out there.
We live in a peaceful village , at the beach , evryone needs to keep the charm we all know and love here.
Now I would suggest a nice yoga class for all.
Richman for Trustee
June 19th
By shock (70), whb on Jun 4, 09 11:50 AM
"I can wait for a resolution of combining special voting districts to hit WHB"

I think you're talking about the up-coming move to consolidate School Districts, TIRED.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 4, 09 12:40 PM
how can we get a resolution on a "ballot" to abolish the WH PD consolidate the village into the Town of Southhampton.

Do we really need all of this ?
By TIRED (13), whb on Jun 4, 09 1:52 PM
The New York State Senate passed the New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act. This act IS applicable to villages and it makes it easy for citizens to eliminate villages. Iff the employees of the village don't think they might find themselves looking for other work, then they should think again.

The Chief's salary shows what has been wrong with village governments for years - cronyism that is worse than happens at any other level of government. Okay, at least it ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 4, 09 2:09 PM
Every year at this time it’s the same thing. Who’s the punching bag? Of course it’s the Chief.
Its crunch time now for re-election so lets begin another smear campaign on the Chief’s contract. Come on that’s getting a little old don’t you think? How I see it is it’s a deflection of the trustee’s illegal meeting which could now cause the village resident’s money in a law suit.
What I would really like to know is why village residents of WHB really want their village run by these trustees? ...more
By LetItBeJune20th (2), Westhampton Beach on Jun 4, 09 7:03 PM
The mayor answered the question last night,that if they were to replace the chief,what salary would a new chief recieve? BY CIVAL LAW THE SAME SALARY, SO I ASK,WHAT'S THIS REALLY ABOUT? This personal agenda is going to cost the village taxpayers plenty.
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 5, 09 7:29 AM
Civil Service Laws were designed to protect hard working public servants from the whims of elected officials, officials who might demand kickbacks or simply pander to the electorate. But...

Here you have a guy who got a contract that was more than generous and provided for annual increases that have exceeded the average rate of inflation for all recorded time. This begs the question, "Who needs to be protected, Mr. Dean from present politicians, or the public from past politicians?" ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 5, 09 8:05 AM
Damn!, INS, touched some sort of nerve, huh? (I know my lineage, and while it's Anglo-Saxon, it's more latter Gaelic.)

Publicus, there've been highly visible problems with members of the Westhampton Beach PD for the past 20 years, with charges of rape, statutory rape, excessive use of force -- though not to the extent as in Southampton Village last year where someone died -- and dereliction of diuty. If you remember the Ver Beck case in the mid-90s, the present Mayor, then the Police Chief, ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 5, 09 10:10 AM
It looks like the Village Trustees have finally put a stop to the escalation of Mr. Dean's pay as had been in the contract "negotiated" when he had greater favor with the trustees. Who where those trustees anyway?

In any event, the pay escalation is ended and good faith negotiations can continue. However, it is time for a thorough examination of his comp time records, and if he filed fraudulent records then charges should be filed. If everything is in order, and if he is the consumate ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 5, 09 12:24 PM
Why should Chief Dean have to earn the public trust again? He hasn't done anything to lose it....

He is hardworking and visible. Again what was Kametler salary the last year he was on the force? I've been told it was 110K. If detectives and sgts earn in excess of 130K how is Dean's salary out of line? As a comparison how much does the chief of the Quogue PD make? Southampton Village?



By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Jun 8, 09 2:55 PM
HARD WORKING AND VISIBLE?????????????????/
Were was he when The Post Stop was robbed at gum point???
NO WERE!!!!
The Southampton PD was FIRST to show up.
The Town is under three square miles and the is PD to show up is Southampton!!!!
How can anyone say that the salary of what the town PD get paid is in line.
After the summer sit on main street and tell me how many cops you see!!!!
Answer NONE
Get rid of PD and the Town Board and let save some money and be BETTER ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 9, 09 10:26 AM
hey sjd, you posted this already,same nonsense. What about the school superintendent, the taxpayers pay his salary too,should we close down the schools too,if it's the money that upsets you,check out all the salaries paid by the taxpayers. I suspect you have it in for the police, and no reasonable response will matter to you, so be it.I suggest if your goal is to abolish the pd, move where there are no village police, save yourself money and be happy, most of us are in favor of a village pd and ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 9, 09 11:11 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 9, 09 12:50 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 9, 09 12:50 PM