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Schenectady council committee tables sick time payout correction for police chief

Schenectady council committee tables sick time payout correction for police chief

Lawmakers disagree over payout details
Schenectady council committee tables sick time payout correction for police chief
Eric Clifford was sworn in as Schenectady police chief on Sept. 13, 2016.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — The City Council's Finance Committee on Monday voted to table correcting a deficiency that the city police chief is contending has led to his unused sick time not being paid out. 

By the time he was promoted to lead the Police Department in 2016, Chief Eric Clifford had accumulated 758 hours of unused sick time over 14 years. But when he was promoted, the payout was eliminated, a measure Councilman John Polimeni called an “oversight.”

“This is basically money he has earned in unused sick time,” said Polimeni, who drafted a resolution to restore the funding. “I think there was a misunderstanding.”

Currently, officers have an incentive of 25 percent payout for unused sick time as long as they have accumulated 960 unused hours, according to the resolution.

The sum for Clifford amounts to $8,175.88: That’s 189.5 hours using the $43.14 hourly rate as a lieutenant. 

Councilman Vince Riggi said he had a different understanding of when the threshold for accruing the leave was. The Finance Committee ultimately tabled the resolution, citing the need to obtain additional clarity as to when the eligible hours began accumulating.

“The question is what threshold would have qualified for the sick-time buyout and whether he was close to it when he became police chief or not?” said city Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico, who said he will review the matter and provide an answer to lawmakers later this week.

Clifford is a 17-year veteran of the department, becoming an officer in 2002. He made lieutenant in May 2010. 

If approved, the payout would not count toward retirement, and the 758 hours would be deducted from Cliffords’ current sick time allotment.

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