The Town of Southold is considering disciplinary action following an independent investigator’s report into the town police department’s handling of allegations that an officer’s retirement party violated COVID-19 mandates in May 2020.
Town board members were briefed on the findings on July 5 during an executive session — a meeting closed to the public — after town-contracted Justin Block of the Central Islip-based law firm of Sinnreich, Kosakoff & Messina LLP completed his review of the allegations.
“The Southold Town Board has reviewed the summary of the investigator’s report and we find some of the conclusions very troubling,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said in a statement after the meeting. “As a result, we have directed our labor counsel to implement the next steps on the town’s behalf. Labor counsel will advise us if disciplinary charges are warranted.”
Russell said “any pertinent information” would not be made public until after the investigation is concluded.
The widely reported allegations center on police ignoring’ complaints that a large group of people attended a retirement party for then-Sgt. Steven Zuhoski, in violation of New York State social distancing mandates that were in effect during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Police have denied the allegations.