New London mayor puts police chief on medical leave

New London — The city’s police chief, injured last fall during Superstorm Sandy, was placed on paid leave Wednesday after being unable to work more than two hours a day for the past three months.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio announced the leave in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

“It is my profound hope that the Chief will receive medical clearance to resume her full time duties as soon as possible,” Finizio said in a prepared statement. “My only concern is for the Chief’s health, and I wish her a speedy recovery.”

Deputy Chief Peter Reichard will serve as acting chief.

Finizio had no further comment. Reichard declined to comment.

Chief Margaret Ackley has been treated for injuries since being hit in the head at the emergency operations center at fire headquarters on Bank Street during the Oct. 29 storm. The window glass did not break, and public works crews nailed the window back in place, Finizio said. At the time, the chief put an ice pack on her head and continued to work for several days, he said.

Ackley has been on “light duty” for at least two months, according to a memo Finizio sent to the chief Wednesday.

“It has come to my attention that as of today you continue to be unable to work more than two (2) hours a day. This inability to work has continued for more than two months and appears to show no sign of change,’’ the memo says. “As a result, and in accordance with the City’s Return to Work Policy, you are no longer authorized to work light duty.’’

Bernadette Welch, the city’s interim risk manager, and Jane Glover, the chief administrative officer, recommended Ackley be put on medical leave until a doctor clears her to return to work.

Ackley will continue to receive her full salary under workers’ compensation.

Under the city’s “Return to Work Policy,” which was updated in November, employees on light duty restrictions are expected to be fully recovered and back working full-time within 12 weeks. The chief executive officer may extend the 12-weeks, the policy states.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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