Failed attempt to force police officer to retire costs city $16,000 | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Failed attempt to force police officer to retire costs city $16,000

By Jayed Rahman
Published: November 19, 2014


The city’s governing body late last week approved a $16,149 settlement following an abortive attempt to force a city police officer to retire due to a medical condition.

Officer Sujeire Bilbao, who was hired in 2005, was allegedly unfit for duty at some point during the last two years, resulting in police brass wanting to process an involuntary disability retirement application.

However, that came to naught, when Bilbao hired an attorney and filed a grievance disputing the brass’ claims.

Bilbao hired Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, law firm of former city law director Susan Champion, to dispute the city’s claims. The law firm prevailed against the city in an arbitration after expending 54.30 hours of work and incurring a legal bill of $16,148.64, according to city records.

Arbitrator Thomas Hartigan mediated the dispute ruling in Bilbao’s favor. Bilbao remains on the city’s payroll earning $76,015 salary.

Council members approved the settlement during a special meeting last Wednesday.

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