20 Aug 2014
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Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Put on Leave

James Kiernan was promoted in October, but now forced onto paid administrative leave.

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Put on Leave

Lt. James Kiernan has been put on administrative leave, Chief William Wilson confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

Wilson said he could not offer any details surrounding the reason for the leave because it is a personnel matter and town officials are prohibited from discussing personnel matters in public.

It is undetermined at this time how long the leave will last and whether further disciplinary action will be taken, Wilson said. He will discuss the matter in a closed-door executive session with the Town Board, he added.

“Administrative leave is a leave with pay pending the outcome of official proceedings,” Wilson said, explaining the distinction between leave and suspension, a more severe disciplinary action. “A suspension can only be done by ratification of the Town Board."

According to Town Board resolutions and minutes, Kiernan became a police officer in 1997 and was promoted to sergeant in 2005.

Wilson said that, based on Suffolk County Civil Service guidelines, he recommended last fall that Kiernan be promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. Kiernan, who formerly led the department’s street crime unit, was .

Kiernan — along with Kenneth Britt, Jane Harrigan and the Police Department itself — is the subject of a lawsuit from Stephen Vlahadamis of the Hampton Bays Diner and in Hampton Bays. According to a Town Board resolution appointing Devitt Spellman Barrett, LLP to defend the town in court, the lawsuit was served to the town clerk on Dec. 8, 2011.

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