Seems nothing in East Hampton gets folks talking like the local police department and the political intrigues that surround it.
Since East Hampton-Portland Patch posted a story Friday about Council Republican Ted Hintz and the police union questioning the site’s comment section has lit up like the White House switchboard.
In case you missed the story (there’s a link in the previous paragraph to it if you did) Hintz held a press conference outside Town Hall, along with members of the police union, to complain that Town Manager Michael Maniscalco’s decision to give a three-month contract to Reimondo violated the terms of an early retirement agreement Reimondo signed with the town. He left on Jan. 30, but just a day or so later he agreed to remain as interim chief while the town searches for his permanent replacement.
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Hintz was joined by who also criticized the decision, saying Maniscalco should have chosen someone from the union’s rank and file instead of rehiring the former chief and that bringing back the chief instead was demoralizing for the union.
Reimondo, who worked for the department more than 20 years, has been at the center of controversy in recent years that reached a fever pitch in 2010 when his job was eliminated by a former town manager and Reimondo was laid off. He was rehired later that same year after he and his supporters forced a townwide vote. Reimondo got overwhelming backing by residents in that referendum.
He then sued the town over the firing fracas and reached a settlement under which the town had to pay him $200,000. Reimondo has also had several run-ins with the union, which has filed grievances against him, and when one of his sergeants sent personal messages from his work email account. Reimondo himself was forced to apologize for his own use of his town email account when he sent out a message some considered racist.
The union also took a vote of no confidence in Reimondo in November of 2011.
Since Friday’s story was posted dozens have commented on this latest chapter in a long-running controversy. So far, the issue has generated more than 60 comments. Here’s a sampling of some of them:
“There were plenty of qualified candidates that were willing to take the job on an interim basis whether it was for 3 mos, 6 mos or longer. To say that this was not the case is false. To say finding a qualified external interim chief is nearly impossible nor impractical is again false. There is obviously more to this decision than is being reported.” — SMH.
“Maniscalco has damaged his credibility with the Union permanently. His claim that there was no other choice but to hire Reimondo is ridiculous. What would Maniscalco have done if Reimondo just retired conventionally or fell ill and left on January 30th? Would he have had to disband the department? Of course not!!!” — The Ghost.
“They knew rehiring Reimondo would make people angry. So why did they do it? Because the Chatham party thrives on contention- this is yet more proof that they cannot survive without conflict. We have an inexperienced Town Manager and majority Council, but are they so naïve that they really believed they could have filled the position of interim chief within 3 weeks? They could have saved a lot of money by appointing any one of the qualified members of our PD to run the department in the interim, while the council focused their energies on looking into whether or not having a chief is necessary.” — Sheila.
“Here we go again. Who's been urging the town manager to do this stunt? I think this attempt at Town Council and Town Manager form of government needs to be thrown out. Bring back the Board of Selectmen and pay the 1st Selectman. Seems to be working in surrounding towns.” — Skitsnak.
“Doesn't seem right to me. I would go into more details but what's the point. I just live in town and pay the taxes my voice doesn't matter.” — Kevin H.
“That is the point Kevin. It is your town and your tax dollars. Your voice does matter and I for one would appreciate it if more people would speak out.” — Ted Hintz.
“I have never seen a small town that has this many problems with it's management, we are the joke of the state. Maybe a Board of Selectmen could get it correct, and stop costing the taxpayers these outrages cash settlements.” — Buster17.
“Give it a rest! Some people just want to disrupt the town for their own well being! They are just not going to be happy until things go their way.” — mhd1911.