Retirement comes with a large going-away check for top police officials in Cleveland, often topping $200,000, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Many patrol officers and other employees walk away with a large bonus, too. In the last five years, 10 city employees — all police — received separation payouts of $200,000 or more. The highest, almost $319,000, went to former Deputy Police Chief Lester Fultz in 2008.
And 35 employees topped $100,000, according to city payroll records obtained by The Plain Dealer through a public records request. The list is dominated by police. Out of the top 30 payouts, only one went to an employee outside of the police department. Huge payouts for outgoing employees are rare in the private sector, but public employees often have contracts that let them accumulate unused sick and vacation time over several years then cash them out at retirement. This pay is not a bonus and is separate from their regular salary and pension payments they have earned. In Cleveland, all employees generally receive 120 hours per year of sick time that can be accumulated over several years. Employees are paid for one-third of that time when they leave, at their average pay for the last three years even if much of the time was banked years ago at lower pay. “It’s not uncommon for people to have 2,000 or 3,000 hours of sick time on the books,” said Safety Director Martin Flask. The city has no limit on how many hours can be accumulated.