an 11-year veteran of the department, resigned in January after four hours of November overtime was questioned. The resignation, recently made public, was discussed during the town board’s Tuesday night meeting and addressed by Police Chief Michael Sullivan. The chief said the situation was handled appropriately and thoroughly with a supervisory review, full internal affairs investigation, and the officer and PBA were notified and a full background check was conducted.
New City residents Frank Grandel and Tom Nimick asked to have an outside independent audit of overtime conducted. Nimick asked the board not to accept Sherwood’s resignation and said it seemed unlikely that an officer would resign over a single overtime discrepancy. He noted that Sherwood’s base salary in 2012 was $125,000 and he earned $81,000 in overtime.
“Therefore I would like to ask the board if you would decline the retirement and instead request a full investigation to determine exactly what levels of abuse are involved,” said Nimick.
Sullivan maintained the personnel matter was handled appropriately. He outlined the steps of the investigation of the overtime discrepancy and noted that Sherwood, who was a member of the department’s Critical Response Team, was interviewed voluntarily with his attorney present.
“He maintains that he is innocent,” said Sullivan. “He admits that the overtime was put in but it was a mistake and was not intended.”
The chief said the department handled the matter appropriately and even though it was a relatively small amount, several hundred dollars, the consequences were huge. He noted that Sherwood voluntarily reimbursed the department.
“The problem was someone put in for something they didn’t deserve,” said Sullivan. “And the ethical standards of our police department require that we deal with it. The only ethical thing we could do was have the officer separate from the service.”
The town board voted to accept Sherwood’s resignation, which was retroactive to January 17.
Sullivan said in response to the discovery of the questionable overtime, the department would conduct an audit of all overtime. Additionally a new system was put into place requiring officers to log into and out of a special computer program whenever they have court overtime. The computer is located near the desk sergeant.
“I’m confident this will be an isolated incident,” Sullivan said, noting he had heard “wild accusations” about police department overtime.
Editor's Note: The article has been clarified to reflect that Tom Nimick requested the board not accept the resignation. Frank Grandel asked the board to authorize an external audit of all town departments. Nimick asked the board members to have an audit conducted of the police department.