Five of the villages protected by Old Brookville Police have jointly hired a labor attorney to negotiate a new contract to extend their agreement to fund the department beyond the May 31 expiration.
The approach of the end of the contract with no new agreement in place or even on the table spurred Muttontown last month to form its own department and Upper Brookville to consider contracting with Nassau County for protection. The contract covers seven North Shore estate villages.
Breaking their public silence on the issue, Brookville officials talked about the situation at a village board meeting Tuesday night, and Mayor Caroline Bazzini posted a letter to residents on the village website.
"We are trying very hard to work things out" to keep the Old Brookville department functioning, Bazzini said at the meeting.
"On June 1 we will be proceeding with the Old Brookville Police Department, the same department we have been working with for 62 years," she predicted after the session. She said the police department has provided "outstanding service."
Brookville village attorney John Chase, who also represents Old Brookville, said the two villages, along with Matinecock, Mill Neck and Cove Neck, had hired a labor attorney to negotiate a new contract between the villages, the police department and police union. He said Upper Brookville would be welcome to remain a partner as well.
"Nobody would be happier to see Upper Brookville back as part of the six-village police department than Old Brookville, Brookville and the other villages," Chase said.
Chase said the labor attorney -- whom he refused to identify -- "has asked us to try to keep these negotiations confidential . . . so we can't get into great detail."
Bazzini explained her previous decision not to talk about the police issue publicly in her letter. She said rather than getting embroiled in what she called "plain old misinformation that has been disseminated by the media . . . your trustees and I have devoted all of our efforts, energies and unprecedented amounts of time to the affirmative resolution of this situation."
Bazzini also took a jab at Muttontown, saying it had decided to create its own department "in spite of vehement protests from its residents."
Muttontown Mayor Julianne Beckerman said Wednesday that "at our village board meetings and every day we receive calls and letters of support from our residents."
Bazzini noted that the seven villages have paid for the police according to their assessed valuation. "Unfortunately, it is the position of the elected officials of Muttontown that the present model under which the police department has operated for over 60 years is 'inequitable,' " she wrote.
Muttontown pays the largest share of police costs and wanted a bigger say in how the department is run.