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279 Comments by North of Highway

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Judge orders DA's office to investigate alleged call made following Linda Kabot's DWI arrest

$2,300 from the PBA to ATH
The PBA is negotiating a contract
The PBA wants 4% a year plus a chart that means 78 less appearances a year, and somehow ATH says this will save us money?" Oct 29, 09 9:55 AM

Blind Tasting in New York

In defense of the 2007 Borgeuil by Breton - that wine needs age, I've had it and your description is correct - but its still tight and closed in - give it 3 years.
Overall I'm not surprised by all the comments - by chanve I met the Borghese people at Union Square last week and on her recommendation bought the Borghese oaked Chard - yep - I can see how it would rank over A Puligny Montrachat at twice the price - the French wines can be very inconsistent and at that price level its a real crap shoot.
As I have more and more LI wines to me it seems the East End is a noveau Loire Valley with those grapes that do well over there do well on this side of the Atlantic. I'd like to see a little more chenin blanc here on LI - Paumonock's (the only one I've had) will hold up to anything out of Loire -
As for California - outside of the cooler Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Barbara around Lompoc - too much heat means too much alcohol which overpowers any food dish.
" Nov 2, 09 11:51 AM

Voters cast their ballots today

and the tours highhat
74 less tours a year per officer times 100 officers
overtime for one and all!!!!" Nov 3, 09 4:26 PM

Southampton Town PBA to appeal ruling for police brass to separate from union

They are a modern day Praetorian Guard, choosing who will become emperor and enrich them more." Nov 3, 09 4:29 PM

Throne-Holst defeats Kabot; Nuzzi and Malone beat Pope and Fleming

Every job has a certain amount of risk - police work obviously has a very high rik; and the pay and benefits reflect that. as for the budget never being adjusted for inflation - with due respect wage increases pretty much take care of that as does progression up the pay scale. Going to 12 hour shifts is not the panacea the union labels it - it means 77 or so less appearances a year per officer - as for the claim that will save OT =- ask what happened when the NYC PD went to an experimental 12 hour tour for its lieutenants - there was no OT savings, in fact it increased. The NYC PD opposed in arbitration the union's request for a combination of 10 hour and 12 hour tours (MacKensie award, 2008), and the arbitrator agreed with the PD that the proposed tour change would cost money and provide less coverage.
Lastly, you reflect an attitude that somehow you are doing me a favor by working in law enforcement; you are not - you are a professional and should act that way - you are doing a job, a good job - period. " Nov 4, 09 12:17 PM

There was a board meeting in August 2008 where the PBA showed up in large numbers and were verbally abusiveand arrogant to the supervisor - a clear attempt to intimidate. But Highhatsize is correct, its all mute now as the union's choice has won the election. So be it.
" Nov 4, 09 2:32 PM

Southampton Town PBA to appeal ruling for police brass to separate from union

must be true - from the Secratary of State Web Site of Coroprations

DOS Process (Address to which DOS will mail process if accepted on behalf of the entity)
Chairman or Chief Executive Officer
" Nov 6, 09 4:56 PM


Its out of control because no one in a seat of political power can take these guys on. The unions own Albany lock stock and barrel. Good example, by law pension benefits cannot be bargained over by local government and its unions, all pension changes must be done by legislation. The unions, particularly the police unions simply get around this by getting a legislature member to draft a bill for whatever they want and get it passed in both houses. Even if the local jurisdiction objects to the change it will then be up to the Governor to approve or disapprove, and even if he disapproves his veto can be over-ridden. Thus you get an unfunded mandate, and its up to the jurisdiction to find the money to pay for it.
Politicians in general do not want to be labeled by the police unions as "anti-cop" , or "anti-education" by the UFT. And on it goes, polticians come and go but the unions stay in place with long memories. So now we live in a State with something like 1 million people either directly employed by government or working for someone who provides government with services. Its crazy.
How do you stop it? Collective bargaining sessions are closed to the public - I don't know if this is by law - but lets open them up in some way to the public.
At least with a school budget you get a chance to vote, not on the contract but indirectly at least. Oddly enough Governer Patterson (of all people) is at least trying to push thru a new pension tier that will provide future relief to the taxpayer (should it pass.) But that's not enough. I am a career civil servant and I will enjoy a good pension when I retire - and some sections of public employment need long term employees. But the defined benefit pension that I enjoy has to be modified into either a defined contribution plan or a hybrid between the two, which I beleive Michigan has adopted. But even these are long term fixes. The State is in dire straits, the Town is facing another $1 million whole in the budget should the PBA get its 4.5% raises, yet all of us who are raising these issues will be labeled "anti-cop" by the union and somehow it will stick. Suppose I had shown up that that August 2008 hearing at Town Hall and said these things. The general public has to made aware of the benefits these folks get. Ms Kabot had the right idea with the posting of the police operating budget online. Now to get people to look at it - another story." Nov 10, 09 11:25 AM

Southampton Town PBA to appeal ruling for police brass to separate from union

Thanks - its not about service - I think by and large the police force does a good job - its about fairness and fiscal balance - how does this guy get to run a uniform business while bargaining over uniform allowances? And now I understand he wants full time release - that is, all his time as union business and no patrol work. Does he draw a salary from the Union? In NYC they do but even there very few cops get release time. But is does show what a great gig being a unuion head can be. There's no check and balance here - the only way to get people riled up is to try to get them the facts. Maybe the Press editors will read this and OMG - do investigative work!!!!" Nov 10, 09 4:26 PM

RonDo - thanks for the info - in NYC they DO draw a salary from the union and full pay from the City. If this comes to the Board - I'll show up and give my 3 minutes - I'll also have my wife waiting in a "getaway" car with the license plate blacked out so we can get home without a ticket!!! I'm not anti-cop - its a hard job - but it is paid accordingly - the Union has stepped beyond its bound and has entered a political field where it should not be - " Nov 10, 09 10:27 PM

Throne-Holst has aggressive agenda as next supervisor

Do not give the PBA the 12 hour "2-3-2" chart in exchange for a lag in pay. Bad deal - it will cost dearly." Nov 11, 09 3:05 PM

Brookhaven Town Councilman Keith Romaine dies unexpectedly

What a sad story - may God bless him and his family. I didn't know the man but what sadness." Nov 14, 09 9:47 PM

Town code enforcement again raids Westhampton home owned by Kabot's aunt

Come on - the skeletons in my family's closet will rattle a lot of bones. I'm not responsible for their actions and LK is not responsible for her aunts. Knock it off. The Press should be embarrassed for even mentioning the relationship." Nov 14, 09 9:52 PM

spoken like a true mis-informed individual who likes the sound of his own voice." Nov 14, 09 9:54 PM

Throne-Holst has aggressive agenda as next supervisor

it will not. Refer to the NYC Lieutenants experimental 12 hour tours - it was highlighted in the MacKenzie award of 2008 - the City ate the first 6 months of costs - yes - costs - not only did not save OT - OT went up - the chart continues only because the City made the union pay for it in bargaining - i.e- less wage increase for the chart. This chart will be more expensive - cops will continue to make arrests at the end of tours, court days will more likely occur on days off - (more OT), and going from 232 appearances to 154 means holes in the coverage. It will punch another hole in the budget." Nov 14, 09 10:01 PM

raise taxes to pay off the new Pretorian Guard who elected her - the PBA.
After all $100,000+ a year and a great pension deal aren't enough - oh - and raise the uniform allowance so the PBA president can get morte money from his business of providing uniforms to the police workforce." Nov 14, 09 10:04 PM

Throne-Holst budget revisions approved by Southampton Town Board

What is budgeted for the eventual PBA settlement? If they get 4% for each year it has to add an additional hole in the budget. If I'm right hearings start in March on an award." Nov 21, 09 10:19 AM

His name is Vince Toomey and I know his rates. He represents many governments on Long Island. I also know who represents the PBA (or did, there's a rumor he was fired but I don't really know). His name is Harry Greenberg and he has made a career representing the Nassau PBA. I know him personally and he is very good at what he does. The Town needs outside counsel on this one - and Toomey is relatively affordable given what others charge. Since the Town is now in attrition mode it does make much sense to hire someone full time." Nov 21, 09 2:50 PM

no one wants that but that's what a "2-3-2" 12 hour tour will do if the PBA gets it; despite their claims it will save OT it will not; crime does not stop because cops are in the last few hours of their tours; with 77 fewer appearances an officer is 33% more likely to be off duty if called in to work on a day off or called in to court; even with more non-OT call back days (should that be part of the deal) you willnot see enough savings to fund this." Nov 21, 09 2:59 PM

she does a great job - some of the people around her are comatose - she's injected some good ideas into the budget process." Nov 21, 09 3:01 PM

they are budgeted for already - and Toomey happens to be cheaper than most. What's Greenberg charging the PBA? He's good - lots of experience - the Town can't afford to have a full time labor relations specialist of this caliber on full time payroll. A PBA 4%+4% will cost the Town over $1million than they have budgeted for. Toomey is no where near that.
" Nov 22, 09 12:37 AM

ever wonder how 20 and out came to be?
Nelson Rockefeller was governor - Arthur Goldberg, just resigned from the Supreme Court to run against him, was mounting a serious campaign - Rocky went to the unions looking for support - he got it - 20 and out for the uniforms, and 25 years 55% pension for civilians (aka "Tier 1") - totally political with no real analysis to cost.
By 1973 it was obvious Tier 1 was way too expensive - Tier 2 was created (Kinzel Commission) but for the most part but the uniformed forces managed to keep 20 and out at 1/2 pay (some exclusions on OT - the "Kingston Amendment", research it guy, OT capped at 10% each year for the final average salary calculation). Southampton Town and Westhampton Beach seem to be the exception to this in that is is mandatory that they retire after 20 years - and how that happened I'm not quite sure. So your are partially correct - 20 years at 1/2 pay is the norm - but somehow STownand Westhampton Beach have a mandatory retirement at 20 years unless extended by the local government." Nov 22, 09 12:50 AM

in terms of ATH layoffs - are any union members?
Afterall she said she would try to get "concessions' - payroll lag wage deferral - both softees. " Nov 22, 09 12:56 AM

new hires make more appearances in the first few years on the job per contract; obviously they are paid less while they work up through the pay chart - and cost less via OT as OT is a function of salary - clearly you do not replace all of those in excess of 20 years at once and actually many are needed, but there is a savings to be had.
Obviously this is much smaller workforce than NYC but in the City by the time an officer hits his 10th year of service he is no longer a patrolman but has been promoted up the career scale. Its somewhat unusual to see a patrolman with 20 plus years." Nov 22, 09 2:42 PM

Vintage Albany

The State of NewYork should allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, or anywhere else deemed OK. I was in Virginia last weekend; Virginia, like Long Island has a fledgling wine industry - walked into what would be the equivalent of a K-Mart and there was a whole section of wine for sale, dedicated to Virginia wines. The rest of the selection from around the world was outstanding also. But here we protect the "mom and pop" stores while limiting the availability of wine and hence the sales taxes it can produce. The SLA is totally mis-guidedholdover of Prohibition times - come on, even in Florida I can get wine at the local 7-11." Nov 23, 09 1:08 PM

Throne-Holst budget revisions approved by Southampton Town Board

that's tax free - no federal, no state,no local
regular retirement is taxed at the federal level only

yep, at 75% of final average salary" Nov 23, 09 7:22 PM

This particular individual may very well be entitled to a disability pension and if that's the case - all well and good. That is what the law is there for. However, the overall ability to recieve disability pensions needs to be closely examined as evidenced by the revelatioons at the Long Island Rail Road.
In the long run the employer pension contributuon to the State Retirement System as calculated by the actuaries will reflect the frequency of disability retirements as a whole." Nov 24, 09 9:40 AM

The State of Michigan was the first state to go to a defined contribution plan - I recall it was for all new hires after 1997. At that time the employees who were still under the defined contribution plan were offered the chance to switch - only 6% did.
The Michigan plan as I understand it has the State contributing as much as 7% of salary to the individuals equivalent of a 401K and the employee can contribute a few percentage points more (I'm not 100% certain on this but I think I'm close). Like the Social Security plans the Bush II administration was trying to implement this can be a better deal for new young hires who are planning a career in the public sector. Portability rules apply so an employee can take it with them should they change jobs. The downside has been that most employees who leave public service cash in their plan, so it is never used for retirement. Also - in the market meltdown the average employee lost 30% of their assets (as did everyone else!) -
Its almost like a hybrid plan is needed - a very basic defined benefit plan that would yield a small retirement benefit supplemented by a defined contribution plan much like a 401K (they're called 457K plans in the public sector). This would shift much of the cost away from the state and on to the individual.
One reason why unions are loathe to these changes are that the public pension funds are huge players on Wall Street and thereby yield a lot of influence. CALPERS of California I believe is the biggest, and the New York State Retirement Sysyten is right up there." Nov 24, 09 10:02 AM

The most recent class of NYPD recruits has just under one half with an associate degree or a BA - and this number increases with each class.
Given the recent antics of some of our East End officers you should not try to say the caliber of recruits here is better than NYC. Furthermore many East End officers started out in NYC and then transferred out East - some to save on the commute and some for the pay. The fact that NYC has something like 30,000 cops and all of the rest of LI might approach a few thousand at best means that NYC dominates the police job market, hence they can pay less because they know there are relatively few police jobs elsewhere.
The reason the LI police salaries are so high has nothing to do with performance or caliber, it has to do with the Taylor Law and the whip-sawing of contract awards that has gone unabated since the days of an attorney named Richard Hartman in the late 1970's to the present." Nov 25, 09 11:28 AM

taxpayer since 1977; no cable - I find it too expensive." Nov 25, 09 12:53 PM

His law firm usually bills at $140 an hour - nor much more than your local mechanic; this is considerably less than the others in the business. What his actual arrangement with the Town is in terms of of doing an impasse I am not sure.
I don't know what Greenberg charges the PBA. Some of these guys get a ton of money. In a recent NYCPBA inpasse the firm of Linn and Green reportably got over $1 million from the PBA and the Lord only knows what Proskauer Rose charged the City of New York. Greenberg I'm sure is much less than that.
By the way the third member of the upcoming impasse Susan MacKenzie, recieves $1,800 a day plus expenses for her time - and the billing time will include "prep" time on the award. Her fees are shared by both parties.
Anyway you cut it its an expensive processfor both parties.
" Nov 25, 09 2:54 PM

nope. If the Town rolled over and played dead as the union would like then the average pay would be $200,00 a year, they would make perhaps 90 appearances a year and the night shift would be paid as OT. Samuel Gompers put it well when asked what is the purpose of a union. He answered with one word; "More"
the unions won the war in the last century - they gave us good things - but they have now evolved into nothing more than any special interest group.

" Nov 25, 09 10:45 PM

You started your thread with some good comments and thoughts and now you have resorted to distorting what I said. These will be my last comments.
Saying I only pay $600 dollars for police protection and I pay something more for cable somehow translates into a reason to give more pay for cops makes no rational sense; you give raises for for other reasons, like cost of living for example. It would be nice to say the STP are highly compensated for the service they provide (and don't get me wrong, I think they do a good job and can give some personal experiences) but the salary has been driven up by whip sawing contracts, and thats the only reason the pay is so high.
Lastly,spending $100,000 or what ever on arbitration is worth it, as every 1% in increased police compensation adds about $110,000 to the budget - so if an award is even 2% less than what the union demanded the expense is worth it and in addition that amount saved will not be rolled into future compounded costs creating even greater future costs." Nov 30, 09 5:08 PM

Nice work and this does ring a bell.
If I remember correctly section 384 contains a number of sub-sections, "d" being one of them - and its probably the half pay provision after 20 years. I would have to assume a state senator or assemblyman from the area tacked that little piece on as a quid pro quo - we'll buy into the half pay after 20 years but you have to retire if not extended. Pretty amazing given the clout unions have in Albany and someone had a pretty good ideas to include this." Dec 1, 09 12:13 PM

It seems Thiele has a bill in the hopper that would modify this - it takes away the mandatory age 55 requirement and makes it optional at the Board's choice just like the 20 year clause." Dec 1, 09 12:19 PM

Westhampton Beach has nearly burned through its budget for labor attorney fees

What happens here is the bottom of the ladder drives up the higher rungs -
The continual whip-sawing of arbitration awards on Long Island drives up the cost for your police officer; this in turn drives up the cost for the superior titles (Detective,Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, etc). Obviously the Chief has to be at the top rung.
As long as the Taylor remains unchanged the unions and their consultants know they can always go to arbitration where almost always the arbitrator renders a favorable award to the union. They don't get everything but arbitrators "split the baby" to ensure they will be picked again. The arbitrator in the upcoming Southampton Town PBA arbitration charges $1,800 a day - and billing will include all prep time and writing the award. Its a pretty good gig.
The essential Taylor Law problem is that the law calls for comparing wages among "similar" employers - which make it easy for the union to point to a nearby police district that was just awarded a good wage increase and say, "we're like them, we want what they got".
All this began when a savvy Nassau County lawyer with political connections represented the Nassau PBA and thru his connections negotiated a rich contract, and then promptly went to Suffolk and won the same package in arbitration. This leap frogging continues to this day, not only for police pay but also teacher pay.
The only jurisdiction that has for the most part avoided this is the City of New York; they have successfully argued that due to their size they are their own market and if they lose 100 of their 38,000 policemen to the suburbs each year its not a problem.
Until the law is changed this will continue to happens." Dec 9, 09 4:18 PM

whoops - Taylor Law - I left out the word "Law" " Dec 9, 09 4:19 PM

Take your Meds Rocky
I've never been a cop - just a guy who was in the Labor Relations business for 30 years;
Gee, I wish I had one of those half pay pensions
hope you feel better
" Dec 14, 09 12:15 PM

Hey! Ive worked for both public employee unions and government - both sides of the fence. The "savvy" Nassau County attorney and I spent many a long day in bargaining sessions - I think I have a good handle on the process and how it got to where it is - actually it doesn't take much to figure it out!!!
Even Rock can should she choose to." Dec 14, 09 5:05 PM

Zappone to be appointed deputy supervisor of Southampton Town

This can be costed out and I would think the PD has the necessary data. I would think that OT generated at the end of a shift will not change to any degree as crime for the most part is just as likely to occur at the end of an eight hour tour as it is at the end of a twelve. With 155 appearences on a 12 hour chart as opposed to 232 appearances on an 8 hour chart (before sick and vacation time) the occurence of OT on a call back day becomes an issue as it would be 33% likier to be called back in on a day off. I would guess the bulk of these are for court appearances. Even if the union added call back days with no OT it may not be an OT saver as the PD probably needs a certain number of these, and adding to it becomes meaningless as they will never be used.
The unspoken issue here is safely. I'm very familar with hospital environments and recent laws limiting the number of hours residents and interns can work has lead to fewer mistakes in the operating room. Also the officers own safety can be an issue: are they at their peaks in the 11th hour of a tour as opposed to a seventh hour? In the hospital environment the bulk of errors occured at the end of tours. Agreed police work is not like hospital work but there are many studies out there about the issue of tour length and errors.

" Dec 21, 09 11:38 AM

Mine also - I wasn't there but it is on the Town's website. Its nothing like the NYPD police riot of September 16 1992 when an out of control group of police officers actually stormed City Hall in New York city and then shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, but the same underlying attempt at intimidation was there." Dec 21, 09 4:01 PM

East End still digging out after record snow

A segment of Americans who believe President Obama was not born in the United States, but in Kenya, and occasionally Indonesia is mentioned. Surf the 'net - you'll even find a doctored birth certificate purporting to be Kenyan - its actually a doctored Austrailian birth certificate and of course its not Obama's. (He was born in Hawaii).
Snopes.com is a good place to verify fake from real items on the 'net." Dec 21, 09 4:11 PM

Southampton Town Board closes out old capital projects

I wish Anna well; Linda's understanding of the budget process will be missed." Dec 30, 09 10:46 AM

Southampton Town Board delays reorganization meeting

I certainly wish Anna well as the first concern of everyone should be the state of the Town - regardless of who is running it.
I would say HHS raises some good points - the automobile business is interesting;40 cars? how many Town employees are there? I'm not sure I have this right but its something like 475 full time equivalents - (Not sure if that includes the STPD) thats almost one employee in ten has a car??? Come on, that's way out of line.
The first major test will be how she handles the PBA - they are scheduled for arbitration in March but can settle at any time. Stay tuned." Jan 5, 10 4:12 PM

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