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Bridgeport chief’s payout gets bigger

January 29, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — Police Chief Armando Perez’s payout for “banked” vacation and other unused time off is higher than first reported — nearly equaling the jaw-dropping amount Deputy Chief James Honis received last year upon retirement.

Perez, per his new, five-year contract, is cashing in on owed time he accumulated during his 38-year career with the Bridgeport Police Department.

He had requested the money be divided into three payments. The first of those, according to the city, was $171,830 — $122,017 after taxes — issued to Perez last week.

At that time the details of the remaining two amounts were not available. Perez in an interview had estimated they would be $80,000 a piece.

It turned out the chief was off by several thousands of dollars. The city this week said Perez will be receiving $91,629 after taxes in August, and an additional $91,629 after taxes in July, 2020.

All three payments total $305,275. To put that into perspective, Honis, who retired in 2017 after 47 years on the beat and was known for having taken only six sick days in his career, walked away with $308,639 after taxes.

Perez, when first asked about his pending payout in December, when his contract was headed to the City Council for approval, said he expected to receive six figures, but joked he would not come close to Honis’ amount. In fact he fell just $3,364 short.

Last week the city broke down the first payment to the chief as follows: $74,056 for unused holidays; $71,511 for unused compensatory time instead of overtime pay; $18,880 unused sick days; $6,712 for unused vacation time; and $671 worth of unused personal days.

Those values were calculated based on Perez’s salary as chief — $145,428. At least one councilman, Kyle Langan, has argued that because the chief, a non-union job, is cashing in his banked time because he has left the union, Perez’s payout should have instead been based on the $110,000 he received as a police captain.

Perez was captain in 2016 when good friend Mayor Joe Ganim promoted him to acting chief that March. Following a search for a top cop last year, Ganim made Perez permanent head of Bridgeport’s Finest with a five-year contract.

“So if the agreement is, when you leave the union you’re able to have a payout of all your unused time, you should be paid based on your last union position, which (for Perez) was captain,” Langan had said last week. “He’d still be making out very well.”

Langan had tried, unsuccessfully, to warn his colleagues of that issue when the council voted for Perez’s contract. But at that time City Hall had not said which salary would be used for Perez’s payout.

The chief last week said he purposely saved so much time off to help pay college tuition for his son and daughter.

“(It is) something the city offered and I took advantage,” Perez said Friday. “I saved.”

And maybe some of that money will be spent in Bridgeport. The chief has promised to relocate his home to the city where he grew up and patrols now that he has a contract.

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