Public Owed Police Analysis
Dear Mr. Boyhan,
Sag Harbor Village’s administration has engaged the community in a discussion about the Sag Harbor Village Police Department. To date, this discussion has been focused on the cost of the department, and by implication that the cost is too high and a lower cost should be achieved.
Seeking saving for the taxpayers is a worthwhile objective. However, the discussion should include an analysis of what service will be received at the lower cost and how does that service compare to the service that is received as the public safety function is organized today. Will the taxpayer “trade down” with the cost saving, or can we be confident that we will be receiving the same level of service?
At the present time the primary basis for the department’s staffing is that the taxpayers want to have two officers on duty twenty-four hours a day. This provides for situations that may require more than one officer, assistance for emergency services and allows for an officer to be available in the event the other is occupied.
Under the contract structure that has been in place for many years, this level of service can be supplied with allowance for part-time officers to meet seasonal needs.
So, the first test for any lower cost alternative should be: will the village have the same level of service? If not, then a very fundamental change will have been made in the department’s mission.
A major factor that has stood in support of a village department has been local control. It has been perceived as important to have the department directly responsible to the elected officials of the village.
So, a second test for any alternative should be: will the village have the same level of control?
There are other questions that could be raised including: Whether or not the department is being managed by the administration as efficiently as possible? If we are paying a premium for our department, do we receive benefits that justify that premium?
The mayor has stated that at some future date, after we have lived with his cost cutting plan, the village could re-establish the department as a fully independent, village controlled entity. Doesn’t this suggest that in fact under the cost cutting scheme we will reduce service and control? Otherwise why would he suggest we would want to change back?
Let’s have analysis that clearly defines the financial savings, if any, and all the other factors. The public is owed the opportunity to make an informed decision. Remember: you get what you pay for.
Pierce W. Hance
Air Noise a Political Problem
To the Editor,
Last week, a letter signed by all chief elected officials of the Five East End Towns and Villages, save East Hampton, was sent to the FAA by NYS Assemblyman Fred Thiele requesting a southern helicopter route along the Atlantic Ocean be mandated for craft heading to East Hampton from the south.
This request is not new. The letter referenced and attached a June 2010 document signed by four East End Supervisors requesting this same route change among other essential access limitations for both East Hampton airport and Gabreski airport in Westhampton.
This is an important first step and Assemblyman Thiele, Congressman Bishop and Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst are to be congratulated for leading the charge. However, while there may be some justification for sending helicopters over the Atlantic to approach East Hampton airport, simply spreading the noise around victimizes greater numbers of homeowners and wildlife, rather than addressing the source of the problem.
What is new is that elected officials from all levels of government united, in short order, to properly represent their various constituents suffering from unrelenting aircraft noise from East Hampton airport. Our airport and the aircraft traveling to and from it has become a serious regional quality of life problem for all East End residents, as this letter makes that clear.
Notably absent from this request, was the signature of East Hampton Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who deferred, preferring the consent of the entire East Hampton Town Board before committing to such a request. Councilman Stanzione, however, affixed his signature to this document, persevering in his solo decision making approach to airport policy. This same policy single-handedly created the Bastille Day Bombardment of Noyac, North Sea and Sag Harbor when the Councilman directed all helicopter traffic previously using the Northwest Creek route to come in and out over Jessups Neck. Remarkably, it was this route change and the Councilman’s independent action, which has galvanized elected officials all over the East End in efforts to provide relief from aircraft noise to their residents.
The noise problem at East Hampton airport is a political problem with a political solution. Local elections are one year away. Voters are paying close attention to this issue.
Elected officials, take note.
Quiet Skies Coalition