Mark Manning, Police Chief in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, stunned City Hall yesterday by abruptly retiring, ending a stormy three-year reign marred by scandals about departmental overtime and sick leave abuse, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Manning said he is leaving to help restore public confidence in his department and persuade voters to rethink their rejection of a crucial police tax. He also cited personal reasons. Manning, 49, is the second top safety official to leave after a Plain Dealer series detailed widespread abuse of sick leave and overtime by officers in the 94-member force.
Until yesterday, Manning appeared determined to tough out the nagging problems, thinning support for him among City Council members, and voters’ rejection of the $1.8 million police tax renewal on May 6. His voice breaking at times, Manning said he was proud of his 29 years in law enforcement and regretted ending his career. He was making about $85,000 a year and will collect $29,000 in unused compensatory time, sick leave and vacation.
The overtime and sick leave problems are the focus of a criminal investigation by special prosecutors.