BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
Less than two weeks after the Rockland County Times reported a four month absence of a police chief in Ramapo, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and the town board promoted department captains to chief and chief of staff ranks.
Brad Weidel, a 36-year police vet, was named police chief and Thomas Cokeley, 40-year police officer, was named chief of staff, a new position created for the former captain. Chief Weidel’s starting salary will be $225K, as opposed to the parting salary of $369,088 for Chief Peter Brower. Brower served 45 years with the department before retiring Sept 2015.
Both Weidel and Cokeley were co-captains while the town board mulled over the appointment process. Ramapo town attorney Michael Klein told the RCT that during the prolonged appointment process for chief, government functions were not interrupted. “Both captains work well together and there are no issues,” said Klein.
Former Chief Brower topped the 2015 50-highest paid government workers list with his $369,000 take and Captain Cokeley came in at number seven with annual earnings of $274,143.
In an interview with the Journal News, St. Lawrence said Brower’s pension was likely to be 60-70 percent of his $369,000 parting take.
Rockland County houses a number of the highest paid police officers in New York State and the nation.
Weidel, 55, a graduate of Rockland Community College, was born in Buffalo and moved to Ramapo as a young boy. He went on to study at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, and completed FBI academy. Weidel and his wife, Rosemary, are parents to three teenage girls, 16-year-old twins, and a 14-year-old.
Weidel started with Ramapo PD in 1980 after being a Rockland County sheriff officer. Weidel was promoted to sergeant in 1986, then lieutenant in 2003, and made positions of det. lieut. and captain successively in 2004.
The board now must choose from four lieutenants on the civil service list to fill the vacated captain seats.