hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Jul 15, 2009 5:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Police chief files notice of claim against Westhampton Beach

Jul 15, 2009 5:28 PM

Westhampton Beach Village Police Chief Ray Dean has served the village with a notice of claim, a first step toward a potential lawsuit, demanding that his expired contract be validated and, in a preemptive strike of sorts, that he be paid for hundreds of hours of accumulated sick and compensatory time.

The driving force behind the two-page notice, which was received by the village on July 8, was the June 4 board meeting during which members approved a resolution declaring that Chief Dean’s contract, which expired on December 31, 2008, was never “binding and enforceable.”

The vote was important because it suggested that board members, who are currently negotiating a new contract with the police chief, will not recognize the expired agreement. A line in that accord states that the terms of the expired contract will be applied until a new agreement can be ironed out between Chief Dean and the village.

During an illegal executive session in May, board members voted to recoup 421 hours of compensatory and sick time that had been accrued by Chief Dean during his decade-long tenure. They argued that his expired contract stated that he could not accrue more than 200 hours of compensatory time, though it is still not clear how that was allowed to happen.

The Village Board later rescinded the motion to take away Chief Dean’s compensatory hours after realizing that the vote was held during an illegal executive session. They then instructed Village Clerk Kathy McGinnis to 
“ascertain and calculate ... the total numbers of hours of compensatory time earned, accrued, taken, carried over and/or paid to or by the police chief” dating to May 6, 1999, his first day on the job.

Chief Dean, who worked from 1999 until 2004 without a formal contract, has not yet lost any of his compensatory hours, according to Ms. McGinnis.

Ms. McGinnis said Tuesday that she has completed the task of calculating Chief Dean’s hours and sent the information to Westhampton Beach’s labor counsel, Richard Zuckerman of Lamb and Barnosky LLP in Melville. She declined to publicly disclose the figures relating to Chief’s Dean’s compensatory time.

Mr. Zuckerman did not return calls this week.

Chief Dean’s notice of claim demands that his contract be reinstated and that he be paid all of his sick and compensatory time, which he earns in lieu of overtime pay. His contract does not allow him to earn overtime, even when he works holidays.

“The claim is that his contract is valid, and that they cannot take unilateral steps to void his contract or remove items from him,” said Chief Dean’s attorney, Michael Axelrod of Certilman, Balin, Adler and Hyman, LLP in East Meadow.

Chief Dean did not return calls seeking comment.

It is unclear how much money Chief Dean, who currently earns $149,624 a year and receives another $55,000 in benefits, is seeking to secure from the village. If broken down, Chief Dean makes about $81 per hour and, as of September 2008—when board members said they first learned of the situation regarding his compensatory time—he had accumulated 583.75 hours. Chief Dean would receive about $47,000 if the village was forced to cut a check for him today.

The next step in the legal process would be a court hearing, one most likely held in Suffolk County Supreme Court, Mr. Axelrod said. A hearing date has not yet been scheduled, he said.

Village Attorney Bo Bishop, who will not be representing the board in this matter, explained that the police chief will be asked many questions during a deposition to “determine the basis of his claim.” Mr. Bishop said Mr. Zuckerman will most likely represent the village in this suit.

Further complicating the issue, Chief Dean, after being informed that he had nearly 600 hours of compensatory time, began using them and, as of late May, had only 203.5 hours of compensatory time remaining. But Village Board members are contending that he should never have taken those hours and, in turn, are demanding that he forfeit his remaining 203.5 hours. They also intend to take away some of his accrued sick and vacation days to make up the difference.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller this week declined to comment extensively on the claim, only stating that it is a “matter of negotiations.”

The village has been negotiating Chief Dean’s contract since December, when it expired, but has not yet reached a settlement on it.

Village Board member Hank Tucker, when reached on Wednesday, also said he could not offer an opinion on Chief Dean’s notice of claim.

“He’s coming up with allegations and a notice of claim, but until our attorney has a chance to examine him under oath and get back to us, there’s nothing more to say about it,” Mr. Tucker said.

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

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Pay Ray what is owed him-fighting this is a loser for the Village and will end up only costing the taxpayers more money.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 15, 09 4:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
If he was not to accrue more than 200 hrs. and it is stated in the contract than why should he be paid for it ?
And now they are "unclear" how it happened,BULL
They know how it happened and do not want the residents to know how it happened.
Teller had no comment. No shocker there.
But it is a" matter of negotiations"
What negotiations if he was not entitled to it.
This is a joke just like the Westhampton Beach PD is.
I can not wait and see how this plays out
Maybe ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 16, 09 12:41 AM
The Police Chief actually called a press conference for this announcement and the NYC TV stations came out to cover it???

Never realized how importants Westhampton Beach is! (Or did they just want an expensed trip to THE HAMPTONS in the Summer?)
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 16, 09 11:05 AM
Mr. Wheeler: Police Chief Ray Dean did not hold a press conference, or we would have noted that in the story. The image is an archived photo from a press conference held last year. My apologies for any confusion.
By Frank Costanza (19), Westhampton Beach on Jul 16, 09 12:45 PM
200k a year isnt enough?
By ratboy (17), sousd-hampton on Jul 17, 09 7:49 AM
This is Rediculous. Police Chief of Westhampton Beach...why is that a 200k a year position?
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Jul 17, 09 11:29 AM
2 members liked this comment
Jack,first the chief doesn't make 200k,however,what does the chief of southampton make a year? The chief's salary is in line with all the other chiefs on the east end.He is entitled to his hours he has accured over the past 10 years. Would you not want what you worked for? A contract is a contract,it's that simple.Check the salaries of all the east end chiefs , why is only the westhampton chiefs salary being brought in question and why did it all start during the campaign,was the board not aware ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jul 17, 09 7:37 PM
Who cares about other chife's???
We are talking less than tree square miles.
So its not 200k its 188K STILL OVER PAID for doing NOTHING
If you think this type of salary is in line you must be a cop on the east end.
They are ALL over paid.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 18, 09 7:17 PM
Ray gets $200,000 per year because that's the contract the board gave him years ago. Base salary plus 8% annual raises. Blame the board, not Ray.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 19, 09 4:17 PM
There are more lawyers per square foot in Westhampton Beach than any other place in the country besides lower Manhattan. The Chief was insane to work without a contract for five years for these people. He should have expected them to try to screw him out of some money due him in the contract he did sign. That's just s.o.p.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 19, 09 8:08 PM
One of the question he wants to get paid for 421 hours of time more than he was to accrue. Looks like he wants to use the contract when it is better for him and than talk he has no contract when that fits him. If he could accrue 200 hours and no more , why is there a problem ?? If your not intitled you do not get paid for it.
The answer is easy just do away with the police department.
Just l;ook at under three square miles and look at what is spent on the
whole P.D.
THE ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 19, 09 10:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Base salary plus 8% annual raises???"

Wasn't it established last month that the Chief does not get "annual raises?"

Oh, and that his actual salary was something like $149,000. That's not at all cheesy, but it's nothing like what the know-nots have been throwing around.

SJD, have you considered what used to be called "night school?"
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 20, 09 2:19 PM
Lookiing at your 123 other comments. When you write something it has no meaning. Your the one that better look at facts since you seem to be the BIGGEST KNOW-KNOT
Sorry if I'm not perfect
But thank GOD I'm not like you
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 20, 09 9:34 PM
SJD / Angelo De La Fuente,
You seem to have way too much time on your hands if you are commenting this much on websites. Don't you have a garage to run? What did Ray personally do to you that you are so angry at him and entire the police department? Maybe it's because you got caught with an illegal apartment over your business and had to make it legit. Cost you some dough didn't it? Bitter old men with too much time who spews lies with bad accents equal trouble in my eyes. GO watch FOX News ...more
By WHBYankee (17), Westhampton Beach on Jul 21, 09 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am not who you think I am. If you look at my other comments you will see that this so-called police department is over paid for what they do which is NOTHING. The town is under three square miles.
The "cop owned bar" that was busted for dealing drugs by SUFFOLK P.D.
The gun piont robbery at the Post Stop and the first to respond was Southampton P.D.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 21, 09 5:17 PM
I apologize if I am incorrect about who you are, but I swear I can hear that accent while reading your posts.
The Westhampton Police Department does nothing, hmmmm? I guess what you and I see as nothing are two completely different things:

Westhampton Beach Police reports
Jun 24, 2009
Westhampton Beach Police reports
Oct 15, 2008
Westhampton Beach Police reports
Jan 14, 2009
Westhampton Beach Police reports... continue
Aug 13, 2008
Westhampton Beach ...more
By WHBYankee (17), Westhampton Beach on Jul 22, 09 12:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
You seem to have all the answers. You say former officers are "jealous" and that Ray could have hung them out to dry but he did not. Funny than in my eyes he is NOT doing his job,but he is protecting them for not doing the job they should have been doing. You feel he is more than qualified.
Qualified for what???? Protecting his own officers and not doing his job as chief.
Than you say WHB police helped Suffolk PD. That the Suffolk PD ...more
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jul 22, 09 6:17 PM