Southold Town Board makes layoffs official

Southold Town government will operate in 2013 without the services of two building inspectors, one full-time and one part-time, after the Town Board voted to eliminate the latter Thursday. The former was eliminated Nov. 20.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the moves were necessary in order to mitigate the tax impact of the town’s $41 million budget.

“We have a very tight budget,” he said. “We’re in the era of two percent tax caps and we had to re-evaluate personnel. We’re in a slump of new construction and don’t have the luxury to have three [full-time] building inspectors, so we had to cut that down to two based on the adoption of the budget, where I proposed to eliminate one [full-time] building inspector’s position.”

The tax levy will increase 2.03 percent over the current year under the adopted budget, according to Mr. Russell.

Because the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the Civil Service Employees Union requires part-time positions be eliminated before full-time posts, the part-time building inspector’s position on Fishers Island had to be eliminated, Mr. Russell said.

The town’s building department will still feature a new position for next year. Damon Rallis was appointed building permits examiner at an annual salary of about $60,000.

Mr. Russell said Mr. Rallis’ appointment represents a shuffling of personnel to ensure building permits are still written and issued in a timely fashion despite the layoffs.  He said Mr. Rallis, who was originally a building permits examiner before a stint as a code enforcement officer, will be serving in a familiar role.

Another new appointment made at the special meeting was that of  a new bay constable, which comes on the heels of the retirement of  senior bay Constable Don Dzenkowski of East Marion after 29 years of service to Southold Town. Joseph O’Leary was appointed fill the position for the police department, effective Jan 2.

Mr. O’Leary, also from East Marion, was hired at an annual salary of about $49,000.

Police Chief  Martin Flatley said he will attend academy from January 2 until sometime this spring, at which point he will be subject to a steep learning curve as he gets acclimated to official vehicles and local waterways. Until then, Chief Flatley said they are looking to fill in a challenging six-month gap without a third bay constable using part-time help.

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