Paterson Top Stories

As Mayor Mulls Next Interim Police Chief Appointment, City Continues To Work on Severance Package for Wittig

08b5a19863c37c1129ae_police_hq.jpg
08b5a19863c37c1129ae_police_hq.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – Former police chief James Wittig may still have a severance check coming his way. During Friday night’s budget hearing, city officials said they were still trying to craft a payout arrangement for Wittig, who retired four weeks ago.

In January, the state rejected the city’s recent $249,000 offer to Wittig, saying it saw no need for a severance package for the former chief. Municipal officials, however, have said Paterson could face a lawsuit by Wittig if the city gave him nothing.

Sign Up for E-News

So city officials are trying to come up with retirement package for Wittig that would satisfy the state and the former chief. That process has been complicated by the fact that Paterson never entered reached a formal contract with Wittig stipulating terms and conditions of his employment, including how many vacation days he could accumulate and be paid for at retirement.

“We still haven’t figured out his buyout package yet,’’ said Budget Director Russell Forenza. “He will have some kind of money that is due him.

Business administrator Charles Thomas said officials were still trying to figure out exactly how much unused leave time Wittig should be paid for.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jeffrey Jones must decide this week who will oversee the police department until Wittig’s permanent replacement is picked. Last month, city officials designated deputy chief William Fraher as acting chief for 30 days, an appointment that expires in the middle of this week.

Thomas said the mayor would pick someone as interim chief for up to six months while the city goes through the civil service testing process for Wittig’s replacement. Jones has also expressed hope that Paterson could conduct a nationwide search for a new chief without using civil service test. But that would require the federal census officials to increase the city’s population to more than 150,000, putting Paterson in the “first class” that would allow more flexibility in the process for picking a police chief.

In their budget discussions, the city council eliminated one of Paterson’s three deputy chief positions on the theory that one of the three men current at that rank –  Robert Drace, Fraher and Danny Nichols - would be promoted to chief. There also has been talk about allowing Paterson’s seven police captains to take the civil service test for chief.

Nichols and Police Director Glenn Brown attended the budget hearing for the police department. Fraher was not there, something that annoyed Councilman William McKoy, chairman of the public safety committee.

Brown said Fraher had a vacation day that had been scheduled in advance. “These meetings also were prescheduled and advertised,’’ McKoy said.

“He’s out of town today,’’ Brown said of Fraher.

McKoy then asked that as head of the public safety committee he be notified whenever the city chief is out of town.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

City Council Candidate to Voters: Let Your Voice Be Heard

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

It is very important for the citizens of Paterson to participate in local city-wide elections because elected officials can help determine the economic, educational and social well-being of entire communities. For example, two very important tasks of city council members include making laws and allocating money.

Elected officials are the gatekeepers for millions of dollars in ...

Dreams for Service Dog for Autistic Montville Resident Become Reality

February 22, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Faith Stanley, a Towaco resident and a single mother of four boys, sought help for her youngest son, Joey, who is almost three years old and diagnosed with autism. Amazingly enough, Faith found the help she needed!

Due to the generosity and help of so many people, Faith has managed to reach her goal of raising ...

Paterson Hosts Statewide Event as National El Sistema Leader

February 22, 2018

PATERSON—On March 10, nearly 300 students from seven New Jersey immersive ensemble music learning programs will converge in Paterson for the 4th annual Fiddlefest and Falala Festival. A day of music making and a celebration of culture and community for both the students and their families, the festival features the Paterson-based program Paterson Music Project (PMP), in addition to the New ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...