In Defense Of Larry Penny

I don’t think there is a more difficult place to work in the world than in local politics, and I don’t think there is anything more mind numbing than working in politics in East Hampton in the middle of the winter time.

Everybody in the Hamptons that is local gets kind of crazy this time of year. We are antsy because there is not as much to do as there is in the summer time, and when you are in a government office, the gossip spreads harder and faster than in any other place. A lot of finger pointing starts to happen because there simply is very little else to do. “That person doesn’t deserve that, this person doesn’t deserve this.”

Larry Penny, East Hampton’s Town Director of Natural Resources has just been suspended without pay for 30 days after disciplinary charges have been put against him by the East Hampton Town Board, who obviously do not like him. There are 16 charges of misconduct, incompetence and insubordination that have been put forth. All of which have to do with the storage of animal carcasses and formaldehyde in a basement storage room in East Hampton.

From what I have come to understand, there was very little formaldehyde that was stored, and the charges brought fourth against him are minor and not worthy of termination.

So here we have the dilemma. We have a guy who is making about $90,000 a year and that probably bothers a lot of people who are struggling in this economy, but keep in mind that he has done nothing but good things for the Town of East Hampton in terms of the environment and a Natural Resources Department is very much needed to battle away development of the very reason all of us have decided to live here in the first place, the natural beauty of it all. Larry Penny is an institution when it comes to his opinions on environmental impacts and his council has been frequently sought to help in preserving the environment in East Hampton. And don’t think for a second that there haven’t been instances where large portions of East Hampton have been dramatically threatened by money and greed. Larry Penny has always been there.

All I’m saying is, take a step back for a second and think about what you are doing East Hampton. Experience counts for a lot, and you have a guy here who really cares about the Town and protecting the environment and is very much an institution on the matter. He’s not a guy that you should try and drive out of Town.

Be careful what you wish for East Hampton, you just might get it.

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