Southampton Village Board, Mayor Trade Barbs After New Police Chief Quits

Anthony Carter and Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren did not see eye to eye on the police chief's job
Anthony Carter and Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren did not see eye to eye on the police chief’s job
Jared Siskin/PMC, Patrickmcmullan.com

Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren flip-flopped on supporting its new police chief, prompting the top cop to quit, because Warren wants someone with “blind loyalty,” village trustees said — claims that Warren denies.

Four members of the Southampton Village Board issued a stunning joint statement on Monday, January 16 blasting Warren after the mayor was the only trustee to vote against hiring Anthony Carter as the next village police chief and Carter — who’s currently an assistant commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department — then declined to take the job after Warren made statements in the media criticizing the appointment.

“Mayor Warren expressed his intention to find a candidate who would accede to his wishes, with blind loyalty to him, irrespective of the wisdom or propriety of the mayor’s position on a given subject,” Southampton Village Trustees Gina Arresta, Roy Stevenson, Robin Brown and Bill Manger said in the statement. “Apparently, to his credit, Commissioner Carter did not fit that peculiar and questionable job criterion sought by Mayor Warren. After … advising him that he would support his candidacy, the mayor not only voted against his appointment but made several materially false statements about his reasons for so doing.”

The dustup came after the board voted December 12 to hire Carter to take over for acting police chief Capt. Susan Hurteau, who will remain in that position until a new village police chief is hired from the list of winning applicants that score highest on the Suffolk County civil service exam scheduled for police chiefs in March.

“That is entirely false,” Warren said of the board’s allegations. “In my opinion, they are trying to save face because their candidate backed out after realizing that the top brass of many police departments were likely taking the exam, and it would be extremely difficult to score in the top three. This is why I said at the very beginning of the process that the candidate should need to have taken and passed the exam.”

Warren, who had publicly warred with prior Chief Thomas Cummings, previously told Dan’s Papers that he was concerned with the “highly generous” five-year contract — he’d make $270,000 annually, plus benefits — other highly qualified candidates were passed up and questioned the search committee’s process.

Carter, who said he had watched years of village board meetings to prepare for the job, issued a statement saying that he had expected to pass the exam and thanked the village for its support.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside the officers of the Southampton Village Police Department to serve the community would have been a dream job,” Carter said. “Though turning the position down is very disappointing, I’m grateful for the support of the village trustees, the village administrator, the community, and especially the highly dedicated men and women of the Southampton Village Police Department who need and deserve everyone’s support.”

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