Police chief out, paid through May, 2018
WATKINS GLEN--Former Watkins Police Chief Thomas R. Struble and the village of Watkins Glen have executed an agreement for Struble to leave his position and get paid his $65,000 per year salary through May, 2018.
The REVIEW&EXPRESS filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the village to obtain the details of the agreement. Struble and the village dated the memorandum Feb. 27, 2017.
The nine-page document states that Struble has been the police chief for the village since May 11, 1998. Furthermore, the first page states the purpose of the agreement is to 'resolve the employment relationships, grievances, disputes, issues, and claims which now exist or may arise' regarding the chief's employment with the village'. The wording continues to say that there has been a fundamental disagreement between the chief and the village regarding the duties of the position.
The arrangement had Struble submit his letter of resignation to the mayor with a date of February 27, 2017. In his one sentence resignation letter, Struble said he would retire effective May 31, 2018.
The memorandum then sets out the payment details for Struble. In consideration of the chief's retirement and the waiver from Struble listed above, the village agrees to place Struble on paid administrative leave through May, 2018. During this time, Struble is to receive his annual salary amount of $65,000. Upon being placed on leave, Struble will draw down on all of his accrued leave time (specifically, his sick, personal and vacation leave) until he has used any such leave. Then, Struble will continue on paid administrative leave at his regular salary until May, 2018. Struble will also receive paid health insurance from the village upon his retirement.
By signing this agreement, Struble waives his right to recover any monetary or other personal relief of any subsequent legal action brought by himself.
Watkins Glen Mayor Samuel Schimizzi commented Friday, April 7 about the situation. "We've worked this agreement out with Struble and frankly we saw this as the best way to go for the village and the best way for the taxpayer. We didn't want to get into investigations, hiring lawyers and have more costs. We have appointed Steven Decker as Sergeant in Charge to help us out with this change. He may be working some overtime and we may have to hire an additional staffer eventually. We have taken this opportunity to reorganize our police force to better serve our community."
The REVIEW&EXPRESS telephoned Struble for his comment. As of Friday, April 7 his listed telephone number was not working.