Cost discussed at Putnam County legislative meeting

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Providing security for the wedding of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Randy Florke cost the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department approximately $7,575, including nearly $4,350 in overtime pay, according to data provided at the Putnam County Legislature’s Audit and Administration Committee.

However, Undersheriff Peter Convery indicated in an appearance before the committee Monday night (July 28), the department does not begrudge the expense and its role at the evening nuptials was all in a day’s work. Maloney and Florke wed at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in Cold Spring, where they live.

 Part of the security detail at the Maloney wedding blocks Chestnut Street in Cold Spring. (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)
Part of the security detail at the Maloney wedding blocks Chestnut Street in Cold Spring. (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)

The committee asked the Sheriff’s Department to provide a breakdown of overtime for Maloney’s wedding as well as for two events on the eastern side of the county: the “Country Fair” held July 3-6 at county-owned Tilly Foster Farm and the July 4 fireworks in the Town of Southeast.

Of the three, the Maloney wedding generated the fewest expenses, exactly $7,574.71 (including $4,349.63 in overtime). The fair cost $11,970.16 just in overtime and the eastern fireworks cost $21,961.16 in overtime, plus another $2,485.53. The expense breakdown did not list the cost of a Sheriff’s Department presence at the July 4 fireworks in Cold Spring.

“Leave Maloney’s wedding out of it; I don’t care about that,” said District 2 Legislator Sam Oliverio of Putnam Valley as the committee took up the question of the sheriff’s expenses. The Democratic candidate for county executive in November’s election, Oliverio (who does not serve on the committee) was more concerned about the expenses of the Southeast-area fireworks.

Convery said that the Capitol Hill Police, who provide security for the U.S. Congress, approached the Sheriff’s Department about helping with the wedding of Maloney, a Democrat. But he and his assistants explained that in any case the department gets involved in large events and those featuring prominent individuals, regardless of political party.

He said the Cold Spring Police Department, New York State Police, and Metro-North police joined in supplying wedding security. Guests at the ceremony included Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives Minority Leader; Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic Party Whip or assistant House leader; and Rep. Joe Kennedy, another Democrat, from Massachusetts. Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did not make it.

The law enforcement squads included members on four legs, since “we had dogs that swept” the area, Convery said. In “the time we live in … you almost have to set the stage” and be ready for all contingencies. “Any large event you have to do that, to protect the citizens. It’s a lovely area, but it was very congested,” he added, referring to the village center. “We have to be prepared. We do it all the time.”

“Can we ask Maloney for the refund” to cover the sheriff’s costs, District 8 Legislator Dini LoBue wondered. “I’m serious. He’s working on the federal budget. Why can’t we ask him to reimburse us?”

“I don’t think he asked us” for the security, Oliverio remarked. “The Capitol Police asked for it.”

“As far as asking for the money — I don’t think the congressman came to us for it,” Audit and Administration Committee Chairman Joseph Castellano concurred. “And I think it’s one of the things we have to do.”

He and Oliverio commended Convery for the Sheriff’s Department efforts at the wedding, which took place with everything proceeding very smoothly.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Armstrong was the founding news editor of The Current (then known as in 2010 and later a senior correspondent and contributing editor for the paper. She worked earlier in Washington as a White House correspondent and national affairs reporter and assistant news editor for daily international news services. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Areas of expertise: Politics and government

9 replies on “Sheriff’s Department Spent $7,575 on Maloney Wedding Security”

  1. Another instance where county officials just roll over and the in the process the taxpayers get rolled – but what do they care?

  2. Which is more obscene – the Mahoney nuptial expenditure or the expenditure of $4,500 out of a total $6,000 animal purchase budge for three kunekune pigs – non-native from New Zealand – as part of the county’s “cost-efficient small animal” introduction to the landscape of “historic beautiful horse farm” Tilly Foster?

  3. It was a feast in overtime for the police department. Why pass it up? One security guard would have probably done the trick for each, or the events should pay for their own security. This is a rip-off of long standing. Even in the case of public representatives, they should be paying for their own security for personal events. The low-level risk security jobs are a gift to more senior law enforcement on their way out to beef up their pension. How do people think that some wind up with a higher pension monthly income than their regular salary? Someone needs to stop this, but they won’t. Law enforcement has them bamboozled.

  4. The Capitol Police provide protection to the House & Senate Leadership, not to regular members of Congress who are having a private event. There was no legal justification to shut down intersections and divert traffic for a private event. If assistance was requested, there is nothing to justify activating the Putnam County Emergency Response Team with their long-arm weapons, an armored assault vehicle and assistance from the Cold Spring P.D., New York State Police & Metro North Police.

    This was a clear abuse of public resources / manpower with the taxpayers of Putnam County picking up the $7,574 bill. Cold Spring P.D. Could have easily handled the security. The Capitol Police does not provide security for the Clintons, who didn’t even attend the wedding. That responsibility falls under the Secret Service.

    1. Nancy Pelosi is minority leader and Steny Hoyer is minority whip. Doesn’t that count as House leadership? I guess I just think the whole thing was not exactly populistic.

  5. It appears that the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department interpreted the request by the Capitol Police as an overtime windfall and a chance to pull out all their toys that normally remain locked up in case of emergencies.

    If there is any abuse of power here, my inclination is to look to the Sheriff for some accountability. Don Smith should answer some questions. For example: “Explain the rationale behind the decision to use armored vehicles to provide security for a wedding. Did the Capitol Police require it or was it your decision?” Mr. Smith has some explaining to do.

  6. The House leaders, Pelosi & Hoyer, have security details provided by the Capitol Police. The story doesn’t makes sense for the Capitol Police to request “help” from the Putnam Sheriff’s Office with the Maloney wedding when the Capitol Police were not there as security for the wedding in the first place. They were there as a security detail for Pelosi and Hoyer. When is it appropriate and/or legal to use public tax payer funds to provide security for a private event?

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