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Pearce Named Police Captain in Split Vote

Republican-Conservative majority makes appointment to Southampton Town Police Department.

In a party line vote, a majority of the Town Board voted Tuesday to promote Lt. Robert Pearce to the rank of captain.

Republicans Chris Nuzzi and Christine Preston Scalera and Conservative Jim Malone voted for the appointment, with Malone praising Pearce for his years of service to the town and the Police Department. Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member with the Democratic endorsement, and Democrat Bridget Fleming voted against it, saying they did not have sufficient information to make a decision.

“Although I do commend Lt. Pearce for his service, I’m going to gave to say I cannot support the resolution," Fleming said.

Throne-Holst agreed, saying, “We are put in a very unnecessary and unfortunate position.”

“I find it troubling that we cannot wait for some of that information to come forward, that we can’t give each other the opportunity to gain some level of comfort of any of these decisions, when there are questions that need to be answered," Throne-Holst said.

Charles McArdle, a retired detective and former PBA president, took aim at Malone for sponsoring a resolutionthat would add expenses to the police budget after the union .

“It’s a slap in the face to all the PBA members that gave up the concessions," McArdle said during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting. “You asked for those concessions, you got them, and now you’re playing politics.”

But Malone did not see the cost as having a significant impact.

“The significant financial impact that is being referred to — I don’t know where that concept comes from," Malone said. "It’s a $14,000 difference between lieutenant and captain."

He also responded to Throne-Holst and Fleming's concerns: "As far as additional information, I think that Lt. Pearce has dedicated his life to serving this town in a remarkable way and I am satisfied with his credentials and his service.”

The previous captain was Anthony Tenaglia, who retired Feb. 29 after the Town Board to the town police chief post instead of him.

Pearce was sworn in immediately Tuesday. According to the resolution to appoint him, his official start date is Friday, with a salary of $153,959.

Dale Simchick March 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM
I worked for Captain Pearce and this is a fine choice I am retired in Florida and glad to see the board recognizes people who dedicate that heart , soul and life to the Town Best wishes
Ron S March 15, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It's disappointing elected officials couldn't handle this in a consensual manner. I would have thought the Board would have sufficient knowledge of a long-term senior officer to either support the appointment or state publicly why they can't.
George Lynch March 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This is the Kratoville fiasco all over again. Robert Pearce may well be an accomplished, dedicated public servant, just as some claimed Russell Kratoville was. That's not the problem. The problem is in the way the appointment was done, by an out-of-control Board majority, without the police chief's knowledge or approval, without the money to fund it in a super-tight budget, in violation of the Board's prior agreement not to fill this position, without public input or discussion, and over the trong objections of Supervisor Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Fleming. That's no way to run a town or a police department. Those who say it's OK because these people won the election should learn how we do things in America -- we examine, we debate, we discuss, we get the public involved, we reach out, we try to get consensus, all before we make a final decision. This troika of Chris Nuzzi, Christine Scalera & Jim Malone won't take time for all that; they say this is it because we say so. Sounds like Florence back when the Medicis were in town.
Ann George March 18, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Here we go AGAIN!!

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