The former Westhampton Beach Village police chief's recent $400,000 payout for hundreds of unused sick, vacation and personal days will be the last of its kind if the new mayor can help it.
The sum includes pay for future sick, vacation and personal days the chief, Ray Dean, was allotted through the end of his contract on May 31, 2015, said Mayor Maria Moore, who took office in July. Dean, 53, retired on June 30 after serving 15 years as chief.
"The trustees and I reviewed the chief's contract and we discussed it with our labor counsel, and we concluded that it was a contractual obligation that we were required to pay," Moore said.
She said the contract for Dean's successor could include provisions preventing the chief from receiving pay for future unused days and limit the number of unused days that carry over from year to year.
Dean's payout was for 300 unused sick days -- the maximum he was contractually allowed to receive pay for, although he had more, the mayor said. It also included 10 personal days, 208.21 vacation days and 13 holidays he accrued as chief.
The village will pay the sum from an employee benefit reserve fund, so it will not take a 4 percent bite out of the village's $9.76 million annual operating budget, Moore said.
Dean did not return a call Thursday seeking comment. He was paid $226,237.70 last year, according to village records. That included his base pay of $165,032.
The village board voted 5-0 on Aug. 7 to approve the total retirement payout of $403,714.28.
"I don't see that the board had much of a choice," said trustee Ralph Urban. "The only other choice was to refuse to fulfill the contract and go into litigation, which is not really a choice."
Dean's plan to retire surprised village trustees, who said they learned of it just a week before he left office. He announced his retirement to the trustees days after former Mayor Conrad Teller lost re-election on June 20, and 11 months before his contract was set to expire.
The village board is preparing to conduct interviews for a new chief, Moore said. Lt. Trevor Gonce is leading the department, which has 11 officers, during the search.