Huntington public safety director resigns following suspension over alleged lewd email
The Town of Huntington's public safety director has resigned over reports of a vulgar email, and has put the town supervisor is under fire.
Huntington Town Board members Joan Cergol and Mark Cuthbertson said they were left in the dark about an e-mail sent last November by Pete Sammis, the town's director of public safety. They say the e-mail contained lewd and sexist remarks about a town employee.
Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci suspended Sammis for two weeks without pay. But Cergol and Cuthbertson say it's the Town Board that handles personnel matters. They criticized Lupinacci for not consulting with them before he took action.
Lupinacci defended the way he handled the matter.
“It was in consultation with the outside labor counsel and also the Director of Personnel,” Lupinacci explained.
The incident started when a female town employee sent an email to the public safety director about a video the town was putting together about dog walking at Heckscher Park in Huntington. The reply allegedly contained the lewd and sexist remark in reference to the employee and a dog.
When asked if he allowed Sammis to choose the period of his suspension, Lupinacci said he could not comment on the current situation. Sammis resigned Monday, ending what critics say was a situation poorly handled.
“There can be no place and no band-aid responses to this type of behavior in our town government,” Cergol said. “Words matter. But as we all know, actions speak louder than words.”
According to town officials, the language used in the e-mail triggered an alert in the town's IT department. That e-mail was then forwarded to the personnel department.