Police brass grilled over $1.6 million sick and vacation pay | Paterson Times

Police brass grilled over $1.6 million sick and vacation pay


Richard Reyes, executive officer of the city’s police department, came under fire on Tuesday, when the council held a hearing to figure out the breakdowns of the sick and vacation time retiring officers are set to cash out for which the city must bond $1.6 million.

“Give us your presentation. Your explanation as to how we got to these numbers,” asked William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman. Reyes passed out a computer generated document that had the hours of all the officers who racked up large amount of sick and vacation time. The document, which was supposed to alleviate some of the concerns of council members, raised questions.

“This document has no authenticating authority to it. It’s a black piece of paper with some numbers posted on it,” said McKoy. “I don’t see any internal controls to ensure the accuracy of this number.”

The paper passed out showed a calendar for 2014 rather than providing details explanation of the sick and vacation time for which the officers are set to receive payouts. “I see the month and year is dated for this year,” said Morris. “It’s obvious to me the hours that are being paid out didn’t occur in 2014.”

“There’s no signature on this sheet, there’s no place for any initials,” said Morris, who along with McKoy doubted the document because it lacked signatures verifying the hours. “No one wants to put their name on anything that way they’re not accountable for anything,” stated McKoy.

Reyes said the document provided is verified on many levels. He said a commanding officer collected the hours and wrote them down. And then the document was checked by a captain, after which it was sent to the chief’s office, who also verified the hours.

Morris wanted historical data showing when each specific day was earned by each retiring officer. Reyes said the data was put into the computer from papers. “Hard copies are put into the computer database,” said Reyes.

When Reyes insisted the numbers were verified prior to being entered into the computer, McKoy became annoyed. “You’re not making a presentation to a kindergarten class,” said McKoy. Reyes responded that was not his intention.

“What’s the point of this exercise?” asked McKoy, questioning the rationale behind the meeting, when documents evidencing the sick and vacation time was not presented.

Out of the $1.6 million only $487,538 is going towards retiring police officers, the rest is claimed by firefighters. The following officers are set to cash in: Richard Macchiarelli, captain, will cash out $120,507; Joseph Adamo, lieutenant, $97,084; patrolmen: Francis Belton, $80,310; Manny Avila, $70,918; Michael Ventrella, $70,918; Gary Destefano, $20,907; Jason Wester, $16,289; Kevin Neggia, $10,605.

McKoy said the department’s time keeping system is broken and it ought to fix it. “None of the document show the source or authorization or the approval of anybody in the department,” said McKoy.

Correction: The city would approve the bonding during its next meeting, has been removed. Next meeting’s agenda does not include the item.