November 14, 2012

A Gratifying Response

Yes, we were spared the worst of Sandy, but plenty of us felt her wrath. In light of that it was gratifying to note how many East Enders reached out to those whose lives were decimated by the hurricane. Members of the Springs Fire Department made a trip to the Rockaways and Breezy Point over the weekend, joining a caravan of locals who volunteered their time and money to the cause.

The folks from Springs marveled at the generosity of local merchants. Lowe's in Riverhead, for example, gave the volunteers chain saws and cleaning supplies. Wal-Mart "opened their doors to us," one of the group noted. One Source Tool in Southampton supplied a wealth of equipment including nail guns, demolition hammers, and a concrete saw. No one asked for publicity, no one had a ulterior motive.

They will rebuild, and they will remember the kindness our little community exhibited. All of us should be proud of our resiliency, and ability to endure. And our inherent kindness.

The Southampton Debacle

The abrupt resignation of Southampton Town Police Chief Bill Wilson capped a tumultuous year during which everything that could have gone wrong with the police force went wrong.

Certainly, the town board's decision to go outside the department to hire Wilson will be second-guessed. And a spate of lawsuits coming from those who were arrested by the department's Street Crime Unit, which has been labeled as "corrupt," could cripple the town financially.

Lieutenant James Kiernan, the head of the SCU, was reinstated last week. Wilson urged the town board to suspend the lieutenant. Obviously, the claim that the resignation and reinstatement were unrelated is hard to believe.

We think the town board has been less than forthcoming about this entire affair, and we understand how sensitive it is. But it's time to let the public in on what's going on behind the scenes.

The board chose Wilson and the situation began deteriorating within months, and now he's gone and the position is vacant. For better or worse, town board members should and will be held accountable for the internal chaos.

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