State chiefs’ group plans to blast Teaneck council for re-hiring retired chief

EXCLUSIVE CVP REPORT: Officials with the New Jersey Police Chiefs Association and two statewide police unions plan to blast Township Council members in Teaneck on Tuesday for rehiring retired Chief Robert Wilson under a special contract — a move they dubbed wasteful and unfair to civil servants, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Far right: Retired Teaneck Chief Robert Wilson
NEWSBREAK: A veteran Teaneck councilman told CLIFFVIEW PILOT late Saturday that a plan to rehire retired township Police Chief Robert Wilson, despite vows by the state chiefs association to oppose the move at this Tuesday’s council meeting, “is the right thing to do for Teaneck residents.” FOR THE FULL STORY, CLICK HERE….

At a time when public employees are “under attack,” Teaneck’s rehiring of Wilson “makes all of us look bad,” South Brunwick Police Chief Ray Hayduca, vice-president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

By signing Wilson to a six-month municipal contract following his retirement, Teaneck officials are allowing him to keep his state pension — while giving him a $110,000-a-year salary and full benefits — until January, when they will be allowed, by law, to hire him as police director

, Hayduca told CLIFFVIEW PILOT in an exclusive interview.

It’s the very antithesis of what Gov. Chris Christie is trying to do by limiting payments for unused sick days and vacation days, he said.

Rarely, if ever, do you see such a powerful organization of public administrators come out against one of its own. But Hayduca told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the association is not only going to criticize council members directly: He confirmed that the group is also seeking to remove Wilson from its membership roster.

Representatives of the Police Chiefs Association on Thursday also addressed the Teaneck PBA on the differences between director and chief.

Next stop: Teaneck, where taxpayers may not realize that Wilson signed an “at-will” contract for a new administrative job to “carry him over” until he can sign a similar deal as police director, Hayduca told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Wilson is retiring with a full pension. By law, he cannot return as a civilian director for six months. So, Hayduca said, they’re bringing him back as a deputy manager, under a private contract, for six months. They then intend to reinstate him as public safety director, possibly in a merger with Bogota, police sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

“The town would be safer if they used that money to put another cop on the street,” Hayduca told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Earlier this summer, Wilson, Deputy Chief Steven Librie, Capt. Dean Kazinci, Capt. Keith Richter and six other officers announced their retirements effective Aug. 1. The moves came amid Christie’s stated intention to limit the amount of unused vacation and sick days public employees can cash in.

By essentially finagling to keep Wilson in charge of the department through a private contract, instead of under civil service regulations, Teaneck officials are saying ” ‘Nobody’s good enough [within the current ranks] to be the top cop someday’,” Hayduca told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “It’s demoralizing.

“There are qualified men and women in that police department who would want to be the police chief.”

“The reason they originally created the office of the chief in the first place is so decisions could be make without political reprisal,” Hayduca told the PILOT. “As a civilian director, he can be removed without cause.

“We believe in professionalism. The public tax dollar is not to line our pockets….We don’t aspire to be civilians. We aspire to be police officers.”

From a New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police white paper: A civilian “director” cannot perform police duties including conducting motor vehicle stops, engaging in patrol activities, answering calls for service and stopping or detaining individuals. A “director” may not wear a uniform or badge or carry a firearm, nor may he or she operate a motor vehicle which is equipped as a police car including police band radios. Likewise, they have no powers of arrest and may not issue firearms permits.  Further, as a general rule a “director” may not have access to criminal investigative reports, nor may he or she have access to criminal history information. Likewise, such individuals must refrain, unless otherwise specifically directed by the county prosecutor, from directing the investigation of criminal activity. Nor may a “director,” as a civilian appropriate authority, have access to internal affairs investigative files absent a court order.  Moreover, a “director” may not examine confidential police reports or other confidential law enforcement documents, nor may he or she access the police department’s terminal.

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