The Village Trustees of Southampton are livid with the town’s mayor — claiming he lied to the press in a bid to prevent their choice for police chief from getting the post.
Former NYPD inspector Anthony Carter had been selected to replace the ritzy enclave’s “million dollar cop” with the backing of the trustees.
But he rejected the job — and the $225,000 salary that comes with it — after Mayor Jesse Warren said in an interview with The Post earlier this month that Carter wasn’t qualified because “we wanted a candidate who had taken and passed the [chief’s] exam.”
Now, the village board is revolting against the mayor, claiming in a statement Monday that he “made several materially false statements” to the press about Carter, who is the current Deputy Police Commissioner in Suffolk County.
“After recruiting Commissioner Carter for the position and advising him that he would support his candidacy, the Mayor not only voted against his appointment but made several materially false statements about his reasons for so,” the trustees said.
“Mayor Warren continued with this reprehensible conduct by authoring an Op Ed piece in the Southampton Press that doubled down on his false narrative. He repeated some of the same falsehoods in an article that ran recently in the NY Post.”
A person familiar with the hiring process said the mayor’s claims that he opposed Carter because of the test didn’t add up, and insisted that Carter was more than willing to the take the exam.
“Not wanting to take the chief test is ridiculous,” the source said. “He was the front runner, and had the support of all the trustees. It’s a shame. He would’ve been great.”
The trustees, who claimed Warren “proceeded to undermine the entire recruiting process,” said the mayor had “expressed his intention to find a candidate who would accede to his wishes, with blind loyalty to him” before rejecting Carter.
In a statement announcing his decision, Carter said he was turning down his “dream job.”
“Though turning the position down is very disappointing, I’m grateful for the support of the Village trustees, the village administrator, the community, and especially the highly dedicated men and women of the Southampton Village Police Department who need and deserve everyone’s support,” he said.
A tense moment caught on a hot mic during a town meeting Thursday showed trustee Roy Stevenson talking to the mayor and blasting him over his behavior.
“It’s your own doing man, you went too far,” Stevenson told Warren. “We were all on your team.”
Warren’s words are difficult to discern, but he mentions that despite “good intentions” sometimes “people don’t understand each other.”
“I just can’t stand what you did to Carter. I don’t get it. What did he do? He was going to do a fine job,” Stevenson said, claiming that what happened with Carter was “horrible.”
Warren declined to comment to The Post Monday.
He had listed the reasons he didn’t support Carter in a local Hampton paper in December. Among other reasons, Warren said: Carter’s compensation package was too generous; the candidate hadn’t passed the chief’s test, which he called an “important requirement”; the interview process was not transparent enough, amounting to a “violation of public trust”; and noted that Carter lacked direct ties to the local community.
The trustees said because it is their responsibility to select the next chief, they will only involve Warren going forward to the “minimum extent permitted by law.”
“The Mayor’s actions were a concerted attempt by him to undermine the will of the Village Trustees who unanimously supported this outstanding candidate,” the trustee said, emphasizing Warren “has not deterred us from fulfilling our responsibility to the Village’s residents to find a candidate who possesses the skills and integrity needed for this important position.”
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