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Cashing In

Retirement, as the saying goes, isn't always what it's cracked up to be. That's particularly true in the city of Central Falls. Last week, Jim Hummel called the police chief about a deal the chief made to ``retire'' and begin collecting a pension, while remaining on the job as chief, at a higher salary. Over the weekend, the chief put out a written press release reacting to our inquiry - but it didn't include all of the details. Now we have them, after Hummel sat down with Chief Moran for a wide-ranging interview about the deal and the public's perception of it.


Hummel: ``After 25 years on the job, Police Chief Joseph Moran has put in for his retirement. But no gold watches of testimonial dinners. That's because Moran is not leaving.''

The Hummel Report began investigating the deal last month. The chief - who has 25 years on the job - was approved by the city's retirement board for a pension that will pay him 60 percent of his salary. But he also signed a new five-year contract to remain in the position of chief, with an increase over what he was making before he retired.

The chief put out a written press release last Sunday - noting that the Hummel Report had approached him with questions, but he provided no details on the dollar amounts of the deal.

Now, we have them:

The chief will start receiving $48,000 a year in pension payments immediately.

Plus $72,000 a year in salary.

For a total of $120,000 a year.

The city also cut him a check for $56,000 in unused sick time because he was quote: retiring.

Moran also gets to carry 60 days of sick time into his new contract,  although he won't be able to cash any of it out when he eventually leaves.

Moran: I'm not going to cower down to some pressure because some people are not happy with a decision like this here.''

In a wide-ranging interview with The Hummel Report, Moran made no apologies - although he acknowledges there may be a public perception problem with the deal. He says in the long  run, he is saving the city's taxpayers money.

Hummel: ``Some people have a hard time with your statement that you're saving the city money, when in effect you just received a check for $56,000 in unused sick time.''

Moran: ``That check there was due to me because of 180 days that I get paid by contract that was continued since the first day I got on the Police Department, a contractual issue and what happened was since I have 240 days on the books, I only get paid for 180. After that...for the past 13 or 15 years I haven't taken a sick day.''

Hummel: ``Do you take a lot of vitamin C? How do you not be sick in 15 years?

Moran: ``All you have to do is take a poll of the officers in the police station to find out if I'm here or not here and you'll find I'm here all different times.''

Moran did say part of his decision to put in for a retirement was based on House bill No. 7391 now pending in the General Assembly. If passed it will prevent public sector employees like Moran from cashing in on unused sick time as he did last month.

Moran: ``People who work in the public - we're always under scrutiny but the people in the private, nobody ever talks about the business doing well and them getting a check for $50,000 or $100,000 or one point something million dollars because their company done well, but because it affects a public individual, I'm scrutinized by the public as I have been for almost 26 years,  plus another seven as a state rep.

Hummel: ``Nobody's twisting your arm to be in public life, right?''

Moran: ``No, no, no and I enjoy it and I'm going to do it today tomorrow and next week - five 10 more  years.''

Hummel: ``And you'll be well paid for it.''

Moran: ``I don't know well paid, paid for what it is generated by the city of Central Falls. And I thank them every day. Because I enjoy working for the city of                              Central Falls.''

Moran will also received a $4,000 raise under the new contract - something he say helps makes up for the overtime and detail work he gave up when  he became chief. That has not gone over well with the rank-and-file, which got no increase this year.

Moran: ``For the amount of hours I work, and again you talk to the staff here, I probably make minimum wage. I'm kind  of exaggerating a little bit obviously, but for the amount of time I put in.

Hummel: ``Most of the men and women in your department have not gotten a raise the last year.''

Moran: ``They just went to a contract negotiation and I don't know exactly what  it is, but I know they can speak on that.''

Hummel: ``They have spoken, they have told me they have not gotten a raise for the past 18 months.''

Moran: ``That may be accurate.''

``There's only two things you can be in central falls, part of the solution, part of the problem.''

Hummel: ``And what are you?''

Moran: ``Part of the solution, definitely.''


In Central Falls, Jim Hummel, for The Hummel Report.