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Shelter Island Police, Highway departments contracts settled: Details of deals not yet revealed

The Town Board at its Dec. 28 special meeting authorized Supervisor Gerry Siller to sign contract agreements with the Highway Benevolent Association and the Police Benevolent Association.

But when resident Jan Sudol asked about the contents of the two contracts, Mr. Siller said they will be made public when both sides of each negotiation have signed the documents.

Mr. Sudol raised concerns about announcing settlements, but making no details public yet.


The Town Board approved a payment of $72,924 of the $169,849 cost to replace a bulkhead in disrepair on property belonging to Lawrence Devine of 57 Winthrop Road.

Inspection showed the bulkhead was determined to compromise the structural integrity of the roadway. Mr. Devine maintained the costs associated with the replacement should be paid for by the town. He filed suit against the town in 2022, seeking full restitution for what the new bulkhead cost.

“Given the uncertainty of litigation and the equity of contributing to a portion of said replacement to ensure that Winthrop Road is protected and passable,” a negotiated settlement was arrived at and approved by the full Town Board.

Mr. Siller was authorized to execute the settlement agreement and general release to discontinue the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff cannot refile the same claim again in that court.

Mr. Sudol noted the item was not on the agenda and, in fact, didn’t show up until part way through the meeting.

Employee health insurance

Mr. Sudol also noted a provision describing changes in payments that most non-union town employees pay for health insurance coverage was only posted an hour before the 1 p.m. meeting.

The state’s Open Meetings Law calls for such backup material to be posted 24 hours in advance “to the extent practicable.”

Town Attorney Stephen Kiely said the need to act on the Devine settlement was important and was sensitive and couldn’t be posted earlier.

As for changes in the employee payments to health insurance payments, new Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams, who was deputy supervisor prior to Jan. 1, said software upgrades being made to the system made it impossible to post the materials that ordinarily would have been on the town website in advance.

That was sufficient for Mr. Sudol, but he advised that in the future, the new Town Board should tell its attorney to “stop doing things like this.”

The provision previously discussed now provides non-union employees hired prior to Sept. 1, 2004 will pay nothing toward their health insurance, but those hired after that would be assessed 2% of their salary for individual coverage or 4% for family coverage. The calculation would be made on the base salary, excluding health insurance stipends and overtime payments.

In other actions, the Town Board:

• Authorized transfer of $3,291,473 from the Community Preservation Fund to the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Board (WQI) with a separate bank account to be set up to hold the funds for use by that Board.

In addition, the Town Board passed a resolution providing that any funds in the WQI account not spent in a fiscal year would stay with that Advisory Board unless a future Town Board passed a resolution to return money to the CPF Advisory Board.

Originally, money that went to the WQI could be recalled by the CPF if the funds were unspent at the end of a fiscal year. Allowing a buildup of money in the WQI account is aimed at giving that Advisory Board the ability to recommend larger projects to receive grant money.

• Accepted a contribution of $2,500 from Greg James to the Deer & Tick Committee to be used in the deer reduction management account.