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Town Drops Charges Against Larry Penny as He Readies for Retirement

Penny reportedly had already planned to step down before charges levied; town won't stand in his way.

The Town of East Hampton has dropped all against Larry Penny, the director of , who had been suspended without pay.

On Friday, the town attorney's office released a joint statement with Penny's attorney Thomas Horn announcing the case had been settled.

On Dec. 7, town attorney John Jilnicki filed charges against Penny, on behalf of the town, relating to his job performance. Horn submitted a formal answer to the allegations, which was not made public, and the town board chose a hearing officer. Penny, who worked for the town for 25 years, had vowed to fight the charges.

"Now, after frank discussion between both sides, the town board believes it is in the best interest of everyone to close the matter," the statement said.

The town board approved an undisclosed agreement at Thursday night's meeting, the first of which . However, the resolution said the agreement was ratified on Dec. 30.

The agreement would not be disclosed because it is subject to confidentiality, Horn said on Friday.

He would not comment much further other than to say all sides were satisfied. "It's time to accept that as a news story this was a big splash but it's one with few ripples," he said.

"There was input from leading members of the community urging that any issues be resolved in a positive and constructive manner," according to the statement.

"This improved communication revealed that Mr. Penny had been active in investigating when to leave his position for several months. While the long-time employee has not submitted a letter of resignation, the Town Board is not interested in interfering with a timetable of Mr. Penny’s choosing."

Both Penny and town were flooded with .

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson acknowledged Penny's three decades of work. "His efforts to preserve the natural resources of the town have had a direct impact on the quality of life of the residents of the town," the statement said. "The Supervisor acknowledged the controversy that has just been resolved, while there may have been differences and disagreements over certain issues, the town never doubted Larry’s commitment to preservation efforts."

“I hope the next man or woman is a scientist/naturalist interested in doing justice for nature and the environment," Penny said. "All through the years people wondered why I never caved to the pressure and criticism—my only secret was remembering all the people making demands is really a measurement of my department’s success."

Wilkinson did not immediately return calls for comment. The statement said further comments would be limited.

sue kelly January 07, 2012 at 12:52 PM
good luck Larry,you'll enjoy retirement much better than the aggravation of the town. Hopefully you will be a strong voice in the audience. Sue Kelly Montauket Properties
Ruby Jackson January 12, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Best of Luck, Larry! Thanks for all that you have preserved. You have better things to do than get pummeled by a bunch of nattering nabobs. Onward and upward! with love and admiration, Ruby Jackson
Elaine Jones March 05, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Good luck Larry. You have been one of the finest. Kim is a great choice to replace you and we thank you for all that you have done for East Hampton Town. I hope we will still hear your voice in the future.
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