Municipal officials have approved $326,382 in “separation” pay for retired police chief Troy Oswald on Tuesday.
Records show the city is paying $169,459 for 1,382.25 hours of unused leave time, $58,846 for 480 hours of compensatory time, $88,269 for 720 hours of muster/debriefing, formerly known as terminal leave, and $9,808 for 80 hours of two-week holdback.
Oswald was forced to retire on Feb. 1 as part of a settlement agreement. He was embroiled in a salary dispute with mayor Andre Sayegh and his cabinet members, business administrator Vaughn McKoy and chief of staff Kathleen Long, that led to a lawsuit.
Municipal officials settled the suit in Nov. 2019. At the time, councilman Michael Jackson described the move as the “absolute worst decision.” He said the mayor’s decision would be costly for taxpayers.
Jackson also appeared to call on the mayor to discipline his staff for their actions in the case.
Sayegh’s administration agreed to boost the chief’s pay to $255,000 retroactively to Feb. 2018, when Oswald was appointed. This was the same amount the chief sought when negotiating a contract with the administration. Sayegh had balked at giving the chief such a large increase that prompted the dispute.
Sayegh’s administration also spent approximately $10,000 in legal expense fighting the case.
Oswald’s severance pay is much higher than previous police chiefs’ payouts. Former chief William Fraher received $210,000 when he left the city; before that, ex-chief James Wittig received $185,000 in severance pay.
Fraher’s payout was capped by his contract. As part of the settlement negotiations between Oswald and Sayegh, the administration could have allowed Oswald to retire under Fraher’s contract capping the payout, said sources late last year before the settlement was struck.
Sayegh and Oswald are muzzled from discussing the case under the settlement terms.
Both Sayegh and Oswald were allies until late 2018. So much so that Oswald was the architect of Sayegh’s public safety plan released during the mayoral campaign. Sayegh’s campaign did not release any other plans during that campaign.
Oswald was credited with dramatically reducing shootings and killings in 2018. However, both increased in 2019. He has also received praise for taking aim at corruption in the police force. Eight police officers have been arrested for violating people’s civil rights.
Sayegh swore in Ibrahim ‘Mike’ Baycora as Oswald’s successor on Tuesday.
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