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Chief Williams Eligible for Perk Upon Retirement
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Springfield's police chief could pick up an extra perk when he leaves his position.
The mayor announced Chief Robert Williams will retire after our investigation "Ready, Set, Shred" exposed details of the destruction
of police internal affairs documents.
The police chief is scheduled to retire on October 22. That particular date makes him eligible to collect $6,000 more per year in his pension.
It's part of a long-standing perk in the police union contract.
"You're rewarding somebody going out the door," Edwards said.
That's the thought of one alderman calling for a special city council meeting to discuss what he calls a "scandal" and a "cover up."
On Friday, Mayor Michael Houston announced both the city's top cop and chief attorney will leave their jobs.
Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen is stepping down when he returns from vacation.
Police Chief Robert Williams will retire on October 22. Reporters asked Houston why.
"Because of the way that we operate, you want to retire either on your anniversary date or your birthday," Houston said.
October 22 is Williams' birthday.
It's the same date late Mayor Tim Davlin appointed Williams chief. And it allows him to take advantage of a perk that's been part of the contracts for Springfield police and firefighters since 1999.
The contract gives employees a temporary five percent increase in salary twice a year.
The spike is effective during the pay periods following an employee's anniversary date and birthday.
"What we've seen with this mechanism in contracts, that is when all our police and firefighters leave to retire," McCarty said. "They do on either on their anniversary date or birthday, because they go out with the extra 5 percent bump in their salary, and that increases their annual pension."
Here's what that will mean for Williams.
His current salary is $121,547.
Since his pension is based on his ending salary, retiring on his birthday will allow him to collect $6,077 per year.
Alderman Frank Edwards said Williams shouldn't have had the choice of when to leave or how.
"We could talk about a five percent spike, we could talk about them choosing their dates," Edwards said. "That's management's responsibility to hold people responsible for their actions. We're clearly not doing that. But, you've got a whole bunch of people sitting doing what they were doing before, and nobody's holding them responsible. That's an outrage."
Managers like Williams in the police and fire departments aren't part of a union.
But, McCarty says the city has always given the same perks to managers as an incentive to move up in the ranks.
But, he says this is the last year police officers will receive a pay spike.
The city negotiated the increase out of the union's contract as a way to save money.
The change takes effect February 28.
We reached out to Williams and the head of the police union for comment but didn't hear back.
According to a spokesman, Houston is on vacation this week. The city's communications director, Nathan Mihelich, said he was unable to comment on the matter because he had no knowledge of the subject.