The East Hampton Town Council's sole Republican member said today the town's decision to rehire Matthew Reimondo as interim police chief violates Reimondo's recent separation agreement with the town and was done without the full input of the council.
In addition, the head of the police union in town says the decision by Town Manager Michael Maniscalco to bring Reimondo back as interim chief while the town searches for a permanent replacement was a slap in the face to union members. The town manager, said union president Mike Salafia, should have drawn from the department's rank and file for someone to lead the department while the town seeks a new chief.
"We've lost all faith and trust in the town manager," said union President Mike Salafia. "We're tired of the double talk and we're tired of the secrecy."
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Maniscalco said his new agreement with the chief, who will get paid $36.92 an hour and get a health insurance stipend to remain as interim chief, does not violate the terms of the chief's buyout.
He also said he did not offer the chief's interim job to anyone else in the department, including one of its four sergeants, because he was seeking to protect them from the political controversy that the deparatment seems to create.
"I couldn't do anything like that to them."
The police department has been embroiled in controversy for the last several years. It reached a peak in 2010 when the former town manager eliminated the chief's job and laid off Reimondo. The chief, however fought back and won his job back later that year in a townwide referendum vote. He later sued the town and got a $200,000 settlement.
He and Sgt. Garritt Kelly recently accepted an early retirement buyout from the town and left the department on Jan. 30. But Mansicalco said he rehired Reimondo because it will take many weeks to find a new chief and the department needs leadership in the interim.
Hintz says doing so violates a section of Reimondo's buyout agreement that says the town can't rehire him. Mansicalco dismissed that argument, saying the clause Hintz references is boilerplate legal language that really means the town can't rehire someone into another full time job after giving them a buyout for their regular full time job.