WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents of Westhampton Beach, Long Island were outraged Friday night over the size of a retirement package for the police chief.
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the tiny East End village with its serene sea breezes only has a handful of serious crimes each year, and thus is not believed to need much in the way of law enforcement. But police Chief Raymond Dean has received a whopping payout of $400,000.
“I don’t find anyone who thinks it’s deserved, and you look at the people that are struggling in today’s environment, and I find it absurd,” said former Westhampton beach Deputy Mayor Jim Kametter.
This former deputy mayor was not the only one outraged. In the 2.9 square-mile village with only 1,700 residents and almost no violent crime, Chief Dean supervised a force of 11 officers. But he is retiring at age 53 with the generous six-figure payout, cashing in on 531 unused sick, vacation, and personal days.
His payout amounts to 4 percent of the annual village budget.
“It’s a rip off that should be investigated, because it makes no sense for a small police force,” said Angelo Dela Fuente of Westhampton Beach Resident.
But village trustees said they had no choice, as it was in Dean’s contract.
“It is a lot of money, there is no question about it,” said trustee Ralph Urban. “But it’s also a contractual obligation.”
How Dean got such a lucrative contract is another question. Last year, he earned more than the NYPD commissioner makes.
And in addition to the payout, he will collect a $142,000 annual pension.
Dean could not be reached for comment, but some village residents spoke up for him.
“It seems excessive because of the size of the town, but if this is the contract, what really can you say about it?” one resident said.
“We’re very quiet. We’re very peaceful,” another said. “Maybe that has something to do with it — maybe his influence does.”
The new village mayor said such a payout will not happen again.
“We are taking a hard look at the contract and we’re revising it,” said Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore.
The search has already been launched for the next police chief, and the mayor said the contract will bar the carrying over of unused sick and vacation time for years.
The $400,000 lump sum was paid for in a fund the village keeps for its retirement contracts.
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