Chief Ackley’s lawyer says she does not want to retire

New London — Police Chief Margaret Ackley does not want to retire, and her attorney criticized the mayor Monday for calling for a special City Council meeting Monday to discuss a retirement proposal.

“I find it quite irresponsible of the mayor to propose an agenda item like this,’’ said Attorney Richard Padykula of West Hartford.

“The chief continues to be committed to doing her job and protecting the citizens of the town,’’ he said Monday. “There’s no potential retirement proposal.”

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio requested a closed-door meeting with the City Council Monday to discuss “the employment of, and a retirement proposal from attorneys representing, Police Chief Margaret Ackley ...” A second item on the agenda was to discuss “the status of pending and/or threatened litigation by Police Chief Margaret Ackley ...”

Council President Michael Passero said the mayor asked for the special meeting with the council.

“All I know about it is that the mayor requested a meeting with both those items on the agenda,’’ Passero said.

But Monday night the administration withdrew the request to talk about a retirement proposal.

Before the meeting, Finizio said the chief has had another lawyer representing her, and there had been ongoing discussions about the chief retiring several months ago. He said the administration never shared the proposal with the council.

“The administration was not prepared to move forward on the potential retirement agreement, which her attorney suggested,’’ he said. But since the council was going to briefed on the status of pending and/or threatened litigation, Finizio said, he wanted to inform the council of the potential agreement.

“There were other legal matters pertaining to the chief we were going to discuss, so we wanted to discuss the retirement proposal so we could have a more broad and well-rounded executive session,” he said. “But since her attorney has publicly and on the record disclosed there is no agreement, ... those discussions are withdrawn.”

City Attorney Jeffery Londregan confirmed that he had spoken with Ackley’s attorney Monday morning and was told there was no retirement proposal on the table.

The council did meet Monday meet behind closed doors for about 30 minutes to discuss pending or threatened litigation by the chief. Londregan said the chief notified the city in August 2011 of a threat to sue over a contract dispute.

The council took no action when it returned to open session.

Ackley’s attorney, who was not at the meeting, said the city has not treated the chief well over the years.

“The chief has been treated despicably,’’ Padykula said. “We are going to continue to try and get the chief to be treated more fairly by the town.”

In January 2012, the City Council rejected a $25,000 settlement agreement that the mayor made with Ackley over a dispute with a former city councilor. Around the same time, the council also rejected another agreement the mayor made with the chief, which would have paid her $63,000 in accrued compensation time pay.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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