After spending more than an hour discussing a settlement agreement between mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration and police chief Troy Oswald in a closed-door meeting, the city council delayed action late Tuesday night.
Council vice president Michael Jackson, who presided over the meeting in absence of council president Maritza Davila, said the measure will be up for a vote on Nov. 7. He wanted all council members to be present during the vote.
Council members are divided on the settlement. Part of the settlement agreement requires Oswald to retire, according to municipal officials informed about the term of the deal.
Sayegh administration officials did not disclose the terms of the settlement, an unusual step. Often, the settlement terms are outlined in a resolution that’s available for public inspection. In this case the settlement resolution did not contain an outline of the terms, but stated the settlement agreement is attached to the resolution. No agreement was attached to the measure.
Oswald’s lawsuit stems from a dispute over a salary increase. He wanted his salary boosted to the same level as the fire chief. Fire chief Brian McDermott agreed to take a pay cut to bring parity to the salary of both chiefs. However, the Sayegh administration balked at giving Oswald a pay increase.
Under the agreement, Oswald would get a retroactive salary increase and receive pay for unused leave time, according to officials.
Oswald filed a lawsuit late last year alleging the Sayegh administration retaliated against him for bringing to light poor working conditions at the Frank X. Graves Public Safety Complex.
As of late June, the city spent $7,151 in legal expenses in the case, according to municipal records.
The chief was appointed by former interim mayor Jane Williams-Warren in Feb. 2018. He was praised for reducing murders by half last year and weeding out corruption in the police force. However, crime numbers have increased in 2019 leading some to blame the chief for the uptick.
Oswald is widely credited for launching an internal investigation that turned into an FBI probe leading to the conviction of seven police officers for violating residents’ civil rights.