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.
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.