NL City Council refuses to approve police contracts

New London — The City Council refused tonight to fund and approve three police contracts signed last month.

Two of the contracts, for veteran captains William Dittman and Michael Lacey, were retirement agreements, while the third, for Deputy Chief Marshall Segar, was a separation agreement after the city decided not to renew the contract of the 21-year department veteran.

But those agreements were negotiated by city staff, and the council was unaware of their contents. The local police union has filed a Municipal Prohibited Practices complaint alleging the city negotiated Dittman and Lacey's contracts without input from the union, a practice known as direct dealing. Segar, as deputy chief, was not a member of the union.

Councilor John Maynard cited the unresolved complaint as one of his reasons for voting against Dittman and Lacey's contracts.

Motions to approve each captain's contract both failed by 5-1 votes, with only Councilor Wade Hyslop voting in favor. Councilor Anthony Nolan, who is a police officer, recused himself for all three votes and left the council chamber during discussions.

A motion to approve Segar's contract failed by a vote of 4-2, with Hyslop and Maynard voting in favor.

City attorney Jeffrey Londregan said the council's action means the officers could retire under the traditional union retirement package but could not receive any extra money.

He said it is "then up to the employees whether they remain retired with the new revised agreements or explore their legal liabilities and options."

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