BY BRIAN EDSALL
When Brad Weidel became police chief of Ramapo in 2016 following Peter Brower’s retirement, his employment agreement with the Town of Ramapo for 2016-2019 outlined that he “shall not be eligible for overtime pay” and was issued a base salary of $225,000.
These measures were implemented in part due to criticism of large sums of overtime paid to Brower over the years leading him to earn over $369,000 his final year on the job.
Weidel’s contract is stingier than his predecessor’s but he still managed to walk away making more money in 2016 than Brower did in 2015, close to $400,000.
Accounting for some of the additional income, the Ramapo chief’s concise check history displayed regular entrees of a form of overtime – “OT 1.0” – after the agreement went into effect on July 13, 2016. The inclusion of overtime, seemingly against the language of Weidel’s contract, alarmed not only citizens, but Chief Weidel and the Ramapo Town Board as well.
“It has been brought up to the finance director and it came out to be an error in the computer software,” said Ramapo Town councilman Patrick Withers. “Ever since Brower, the Town Board agreed to change the chief’s contract, Weidel gets compensated hour for hour but that’s all…I can assure you that he does not receive overtime.”
According to Weidel’s contract, he is to be compensated based on an hourly rate and nothing more. Other officers may earn “OT 1.5” or “OT 2.0,” also known as time and a half or double time. Hours that Weidel clocks over 40 per week are billed at his ordinary rate. There are many entrees for overtime 1.0 hours on Weidel’s log sheet, totaling 62 hours – or $7,531.90 – from July 16, 2016 to December 17, 2016.
Weidel also chose to cash in many accrued benefits in 2016. His base salary was set at $225,000 for the year but he made a total earning of $397,411.75 due to additions such as a $28,665 annual longevity benefit and the ability to “cash-in” accrued hours (1,463.5 hours of compensatory time, 816 hours of vacation time and 304 hours of family emergency time) and more, as well as the overtime 1.0 hours.
The salary and overtime of the Ramapo PD chief position came into focus following reports in 2014 that former Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower ran a private security firm using town resources. Brower’s contract allowed the ex-police chief to receive overtime pay which resulted in him earning 368 hours in overtime – or $128,000 – in the first nine months of 2015 prior to retiring. Brower retired with a salary of $274,000 a year but earned roughly $369,000 in his final year.
Aside from the discovery of Brower’s private security firm, many were upset with simply the large sum of overtime being paid to a police chief who already made over $200,000 a year – this in Rockland County where police officers are already among the highest paid in the state and across the nation. Moreover, many other police chiefs in the area – including the police chiefs of Orangetown, Clarkstown and the Rockland Sheriff’s Office – do not receive overtime.
In 2016 the Rockland County Times revealed that Brower had filed a log sheet for town overtime hours the same hours he had signed showing his attendance at a meeting in New Jersey related to his private security business.