Two Westhampton Beach Village Police officers with a half century of combined experience opted to retire late last month, leaving the small municipal department in a lurch heading into the busy summer season.
The Westhampton Beach Village Board recently unanimously accepted the retirements of Detective Ed Hamor, 59, who joined the force in 1985, and Sergeant Nicholas Fusco, 57, who enlisted in 1989. Village officials are now looking to find full-time replacements for the two men; both declined to comment on their recent retirements.
A third longtime officer, Sergeant Kerry Laube, 54, retired in January from the village department, which boasts about a dozen full-time officers total when fully staffed.
Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore said Chief Trevor Gonce will be making recommendations to board members to fill the vacancies in the detective and sergeant offices. While the detectives office is promotional, officers must take and pass a civil service exam to become a sergeant.
Village Board members have already approved the hiring of two full-time officers—Andrew Kirwin was hired in the fall following Sgt. Laube’s retirement, while Joseph Loria arrived just last month—and the plan is to fill the detective and sergeant vacancies from within the department in the coming weeks, village officials said.
“Ideally, we would like to replace a sergeant or two,” Ms. Moore said during a recent interview. “We also have a detective already, but it would be ideal to put someone in with him. Chief Gonce is working through all of this now and will make some recommendations.”
The Village Board appointed Officer Loria, who has previously worked part-time for the department in the winter months, as a new full-time officer effective Thursday, June 1, and he will receive an annual salary of $55,036.41. Officer Kirwin, who was hired in November, is a former part-time traffic control officer in Westhampton Beach. He is earning the same salary as Officer Loria, according to village officials.
Westhampton Beach Village Clerk Elizabeth Lindtvit explained that the village does not yet know how much Sgt. Fusco and Det. Hamor, whose last days were on May 25, will earn through their pensions, saying the state uses a formula that is based on their respective salaries. The state, she added, has not provided the village with the necessary information to calculate a figure. Sgt. Fusco was hired on February 13, 1989, and was scheduled to make $136,224 next year. Det. Hamor was hired on March 3, 1985, and was set to earn $123,668 in 2017-18.
The village has set aside $392,588 in next year’s $2.6 million police department budget to cover anticipated pension costs for its police and fire personnel.
Deputy Mayor Ralph Urban said all three recently retired officers have been on the force for decades and are eligible for retirement. He also said it was not unusual to see so much turnover in such a short period.
Chief Gonce added that he will be working with the board to make sure the department is fully staffed and ready for the ensuing summer.
“I would like to thank Sergeant Nicholas Fusco and Detective Edwin Hamor for their years of service to the department and the Village of Westhampton Beach,” Chief Gonce said. “Due to the spontaneity of their retirements, we will be working to replace them as expeditiously as possible through new hires and promotions.”