Paterson Top Stories

Wittig to Get $249,000 Retirement Package; Fraher To Take Charge as Acting Chief

337615fec949a29d1d1a_wittig.jpg
337615fec949a29d1d1a_wittig.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – Police Chief James Wittig will receive a $249,782 severance package under an agreement approved by the City Council Tuesday night.

Wittig’s last day on the job will be Saturday and Deputy Police Chief Chief William Fraher will take over as acting chief, said public safety director Glenn Brown.

Sign Up for E-News

“That’s my choice,’’ Brown said of Fraher. “He’s a strong disciplinarian and that’s what I need in there.’’

Fraher also has seniority over the other two deputy chiefs, Danny Nichols and Robert Drace, who is on medical leave, Brown said. It's not clear how long it will take to pick a permanent chief. That has to go through the civil service hiring process, officials said.

On his way out the door, Wittig will receive a series of retroactive pay increases that will boost his retiring salary by about $30,000, to $195,538. The raises will generate a retroactive pay check of $113,845. In addition to that, Wittig will get $135,937 for his accumulated leave time under the agreement.

Councilmen William McKoy and Kenneth Morris raised questions about the validity of Wittig’s accumulated leave time.

“Some of these hours were accumulated long before I got there,’’ Brown told the council.

“Whether or not it’s thorough or accurate, one would hope,’’ said Mayor Jeffrey Jones.

"I'm trying to wrap my arms around this golden parachutte here,'' said Morris.

Eventually Morris and McKoy joined with Council President Anthony Davis and colleagues Andre Sayegh and Benjie Wimberly to approve Wittig’s deal. Only Councilman Julio Tavarez voted against it. Council members Vera Ames-Garnes and Rigo Rodriguez were absent, while Aslon Goow has recused himself from the vote because of pending lawsuit he has against Wittig.

In addition to the payout, Wittig also will receive indemnification from the city against possible litigation arising from his work as police chief. The retroactive raises he received will boost his pension by about $20,000 to about $135,000 per year.

The council had been scheduled to vote on Wittig’s retirement last week, but demanded Jones’ presence to answers questions. As it turned out, the council didn’t really ask much of the mayor.

Council members said they were anxious to replace Wittig so the police department could move in a new direction.

Wittig would reach the state’s mandatory police officer retirement age of 65 in February. But council members said they wanted to finalize his retirement before the new year so he would not get a new allotment of leave days worth about $43,000.

 

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 ...