Sudden Changes at Ordinance Department
A year after being placed on an administrative leave with pay, following disciplinary charges, Arthur Bloom, an East Hampton Town ordinance enforcement officer, was fired Tuesday by a vote of the town board. He had held the position since January 2015. The termination was based on a hearing officer’s recommendation and findings that Mr. Bloom was guilty of 14 disciplinary charges, which he had denied.
During the same session on Tuesday, the board accepted the retirement of Betsy Bambrick, the head of the Ordinance Enforcement Department, effective Friday, Dec. 15.
According to a resolution, she will remain on administrative leave until then. Ms. Bambrick has worked for the town since 1989, and served as director of the Ordinance Enforcement Department since 2010.
Mr. Bloom was charged with improperly destroying copies of a written warning he had issued to a Montauk contractor, Scott Braddick, who allegedly was operating a business out of a residence; the destruction of paperwork was said to be in violation of town policies as well as record-retention laws.
In a written decision dated Nov. 6, Eileen Powers, the hearing officer, contended that Mr. Bloom then lied about whether he had issued a written or only an oral warning. A copy of the written warning was obtained from the property owner, according to the report.
Mr. Bloom was additionally found guilty of tampering with public records, of failing to perform his duties, of “conduct which brings discredit upon the town,” and of incompetence and insubordination, among other related charges.
He has been working as a part-time fire marshal for the Town of Shelter Island since June.
In testimony summarized in the hearing officer’s decision, the ordinance officer said that he had consulted with a colleague and with Ms. Bambrick, his supervisor, about the case.
Those who testified about the situation included Kelly Kampf, the town’s assistant director of public safety, and Ms. Bambrick, who was criticized in the report by the hearing officer, who said she had tried to “inject confusion” with her testimony.
There have been signs for some time of discord within the town’s Public Safety Division, which oversees the Ordinance Enforcement Department, and in that department itself.
Last year, employees who said they feared retribution and therefore wished to remain anonymous sent emails alleging a hostile work environment in the division, which is headed by David Betts, and challenging Ms. Kampf’s qualifications to do her job.
There was rising tension, the employees said, after Ms. Bambrick took a civil-Service test to qualify for the job title held by Mr. Betts.
Ms. Bambrick was initially Ms. Kampf’s supervisor. But in September 2016, Ms. Kampf was promoted to the newly created position of assistant public safety director, becoming Ms. Bambrick’s supervisor; the Ordinance Enforcement Department, as well as the fire marshals, and the animal-control and building departments, all fall under the umbrella of the Public Safety Division.
Some employees also sent a letter and went to Alex Walters, the executive assistant to Supervisor Larry Cantwell, as well as to union representatives, but no official action has been taken on their complaints.
Correction: The original version of this story stated incorrectly that the East Hampton Town Board accepted the resignation of Betsy Bambrick, who served as head of the Ordinance Enforcement Department. The board accepted Ms. Bambrick's notice to retire and not a resignation.