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279 Comments by North of Highway

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Throne-Holst budget revisions approved by Southampton Town Board

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

Sag Harbor teachers charge district is not negotiating

Do not agree to binding arbitration - the process is stacked against the employer. " Jan 12, 10 11:20 AM

Southampton Town comptroller reappointment thwarted

I had occasion to see Ms. Wright at Town Board meetings and examine some of the fiscal documents she and her staff prepared; she is worth every penny - not to re-appoint her would be great mistake and I have to agree with Mr. Wheeler's assessment concerning past supervisor's responsibilty for the fiscal mess the Town is in. Cut out the politics folks - let's get this mess cleaned up." Jan 13, 10 2:37 PM

Beware of 'greenwashing'

I am very confused by all the organic labeling and definitions - also with vegetables as well as wine. Best of luck to Joe Macari - I find his wines well crafted and quite enjoyable." Jan 14, 10 1:05 PM

Kabot's court date is delayed for a third time

everyone who served on that board from 2001 to 2007, everyone who signed off on an audit certifying all was well,and everyone who served as controller/financial analyst shares the blame. " Jan 20, 10 8:32 PM

Questions are raised over Town Board candidate's fund-raising restrictions

It is in the State retirement law - Southampton Town and Westhampton Beach specifically mentioned.
How that came to pass is somewhat of a mystery but I would bet it would be when the 20 year pension for police outside of NYC got it in the Rockefeller years. (NYC had it first while Wagner was still mayor, the city unions did an end run around Wagner and went to Albany I believe in 1962 or 1963.)
I can't see why it wouldn't stand up in court - its been on the books a long time." Feb 4, 10 4:41 PM

Terry that's correct - the point I was trying to make is that the state retirement law does indeed include this clause specific to Southampton Town and Westhampton Beach - regardless of whether its ever been utilzed by either government. The option is there." Feb 5, 10 9:41 AM

Home in Mastic funded by Southampton Town Section 8 money shut down

The program does much good; however, it is abused because it is not properly supervised and is open to corruption. It also is as much a landlord subsidy as a tenant subsidy. Go to any of those "get rich in real estate" seminars and hear how buying cheap housing and using the Section 8 program will make you rich.
Since the law does not allow for the recipients to be named, how about allowing the names of landlords to be public? You might be surprised to read just who owns multiple Section 8 housing in Southampton Town." Feb 8, 10 11:01 AM

On the negative side it drives up the cost the rentals by providing an artificial pricing floor; if the program pays $1,500 a month and higher for a rental then virtually every landlord will use that amount as the cost of renting a property regardless of having a Section 8 recipient or not. Thus the non-voucher holder suffers as they have to pay the $1,500 a month or higher without the aide of a subsidy.
The rates are way too high, especially in light of the housing bubble collapse.
The high rate also squeezes out affordable housing by making it attractive to investors to buy properties for rental and speculation rather than to have properties on the open market at more affordable levels." Feb 8, 10 11:14 AM

Confusing isn't it? It seems in this case the money stayed with Southampton Town and even if its "ported" Southampton gets to keep 20% of it.
Another item to note: assuming every $100,000 borrowed equals $600 a month mortgage payment, and with Section 8 paying as much as $2,000 a month, every property selling for less than $300,000 can in theory generate a profit for a landlord. This is one reason why Section 8 clusters in working class neighborhoods, and in the case of Mastics there are plenty of properties falling into the profitability range. And thats why in Southampton Town there are concentations of Section 8 in Flanders and Hampton West Estates, the two most affordable neighborhoods.. Now don't get me wrong, there are many responsible Section 8 recipients, but it only takes one bad one on a block to disrupt the quality of life for everyone else. " Feb 8, 10 2:35 PM

Riverhead Town officials make pledge to revitalize downtown

Kind of like Gabreski Airport - for the 32 years I've lived in the area both downtown Riverhead and Gabreski Airport were"diamonds in the rough" - with great potential, needing only the right plan, etc etc
This too shall pass - I'm sad to say. There seems to be a political process in place that is a poision to Downtown Riverhead - it is a potential diamond that is sadly neglected." Feb 16, 10 1:08 PM

Bordeaux chaos

Its started - 2006 Lalande Borie St Estephe (I think) - I paid $30 for a bottle last year - I saw it in Riverhead for $20 and $18 in a store in Manhattan; 2004 Greysac for $10, and I bet if I rummage around I'll find these same wines for even less. It will have some effect on East End reds I am sure." Feb 17, 10 5:01 PM

New businesses are helping redefine Eastport's downtown

Eastport is overlooked, its actually quite nice. I used to take my kids crabbing and snapper fishing off the dock on South Bay Avenue when they were young - lot of good memories. Being into antiques my wife and I frequented the shops for years and I still make the rounds. I recall the stained glass guy restored an old family lamp for me years ago.
And yes, PrivateerMatt is correct - Patty's makes one super cheeseburger!!!" Feb 23, 10 1:22 PM

Italian Wine Week

Have always found Italian wines very confusing - many appellations, grape types (some with multiple names), many producers, etc etc. Of late I've noticed a couple of shops in Manhattan offering nothing but Italian wimes, the latest one I found is in Little Italy on Grand Street just east of Mulberry. Looks like a family business and the kids behind the counter don't seem that well informed but the owner certainly is. There's also a shop that sells nothing but wines from Chile on Lafeyette and I hear a shop selling nothing but Spanish wines is to open soon in the East Village. Sadly the shop in Soho that had nothing but New York State wines is gone." Feb 26, 10 11:56 AM

Bridget Fleming wins vacant Southampton Town Board seat

another win for the Town PBA.
That aside, congrats to Ms Fleming
I wish her well in her representing the interests of the Town's residents." Mar 10, 10 2:50 PM

Westhampton Beach Village police officers file notices of claim

Truly pathetic situation. These guys clearly try to set up a fellow officer, and then try to become victims of their own nefarious action, and then threaten to sue!!!! " Mar 10, 10 3:03 PM

Questions of respect for region's best

Similar story - many years ago one October my sister and I were driving the Costa Del Sol in Spain when we stopped by a roadside restaurant in a small village for a late lunch. There were carafes of red wine on the table - no beer here, the beer cooler had failed - so we opted for the wine. It was amazing! The freshness was incredible. When I asked our waiter where it came from he pointed out the window to a small vineyard and said in halting English - "I make" - hows that for fressness!!!" Mar 12, 10 10:13 AM

Questions still remain over police officer suspensions, reinstatements in Westhampton Beach

Mr. Bee is a long time attorney involved in labor law as well as municipal affairs. He has represented many Long Island governments in police union arbitrations. I have to believe he knows what he is talking about." Mar 31, 10 2:02 PM

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