The Village of Suffern’s First Military Leave Policy

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Open letter to the public:

Being a military veteran I have firsthand experience with the strain of being employed and being called into active military service on the individual or his or her family. Ironically on Dec 23, 2015 I was first made aware of the official orders (dated July 8, 2015) for activation from the NYS Air National Guard for an Officer of the Suffern Police Department by the PBA President Sgt. Mallon.

I immediately inquired of Suffern Police Chief Osborn as to the military leave policy which the Suffern Police Department had.

I was informed by Chief Osborn that the Suffern Police Department did not have any written policy. I furthered my due diligence by inquiring with the Village Clerk as to whether or not she was aware of the existence of a military leave policy. The Village Clerk was unable to provide a copy of any such policy or local law adopted by any previous Suffern administration.

The Board was unable to develop a broader policy in this limited time frame without the Village Board and Village Treasurer doing its due diligence and analyzing the financial impact, if any, on the Village and the staffing of Suffern and analyze the requirements of the Police Department.

This left me with four business days to develop a military leave policy which would not only affect and benefit the Officer but every employee of the Village of Suffern.

The Board determined that adopting the NYS #242 of the Military Law of the State of New York would provide initial relief for the deployed member. But at the same time the law provided the flexibility to amend the policy once the fiscal impact of extending that policy was analyzed by the Village Treasurer and Village Board.

Prior to the adoption of the initial military leave policy adopted January 4, 2016 I had a conversation with the Chief of Police were I indicated that we will continue to review and discuss various options to the policy and that any changes would be retroactive to the original date of adoption.

Contrary to some of the rumors you may have heard, regardless of the amount of months that the Village would provide full pay to a Village employee called for active duty, the military can claw back the pay differential that they provide to the Village employee.

Once I was made aware of this controversy I had Village staff check with the surrounding/local municipalities if they had any military leave policies and if they did what they were. The result of this inquiry revealed that the policy adopted by the Village Board on January 4, 2016 was wholly consistent with those of our surrounding local municipalities.

It is my sincere intention, notwithstanding the fact that our recently adopted policy is consistent with NY State law and our local surrounding Villages to revisit this issue once we responsibly determine the potential fiscal impact to the employee and the taxpayers of our Village.

Sincerely,

Ed Markunas
Mayor of Suffern

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