ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Orchard Park Town Council is trying to set the record straight about why it secretly paid former Police Chief Mark Pacholec an additional $100,000 to retire.
On Wednesday, Town Council Member Mike Sherry published an open letter, in which he explained why the Town Board did not release details about the financial compensation in Pacholec's severance package.
"There was no intention or effort to deceive our community, and certainly nothing illegal occurred," Sherry wrote.
"But we failed in this circumstance, and we are indebted to the media and many citizens for holding our feet to the fire," he added.
Sherry, who was a major player in the Town's contract negotiations with the Police Benevolent Association, estimates that it may take more than a year to offset the costs associated with Pacholec's termination agreement, including severance pay and attorney fees, by finding 1.6% in savings from its public safety budget.
For weeks, questions have been mounting as to why Pacholec, who worked with for the town for 22 years, mysteriously retired in early May.
Sherry's open letter did not explain the circumstances surrounding the quiet retirement, however he poured cold water on a Facebook post by Pacholec's wife that suggested things took a nasty turn over contract salary negotiations.
"So...basically OP has lost a Chief of Police who was well liked, worked hard, was fiscally responsible because Mike Sherry got embarrassed. He negotiated a contract for the PBA that was tied to the COA and the Chief and the Assistant Chief. When he realizes this...he does the only thing he can...try to cut Mark's pay," Bridget Pacholec wrote in her May 27th Facebook post.
Sherry called her comments "nonsensical."
"It will have to suffice to say, both sides had their reasons [for Pacholec's retirement]; and only if both parties formally agree to remove that requirement will disclosure become permissible," Sherry wrote.
The salary for the incoming Chief of Police will be $9,000 less than what Pacholec was earning, according to Sherry.