Chief retired – but still on the job

Sean C. Morgan

Police Chief Bob Burford is working under a special contract this year after reaching his retirement date at the end of 2010.

City Manager Craig Martin entered into the contract with the police chief in January.

Last year, Burford announced his plans to retire at the end of 2010, and the City Council agreed to cash out his accrued sick days in monthly payments throughout the year.

The arrangement is different from that often used within School District 55, which brings back teachers and other employees on temporary contracts that are limited by hours.

Oregon law allows cities with populations lower than 15,000 to employ Public Employees Retirement System retirees without limitation on hours worked, Martin said.

“He’s working back for one year subject to another possible contract if the city’s needs are still there and he has a desire to work,” the city manager said.

The contract is similar to the contract Martin has with the City Council, he said.

“One of the factors: With the contract (union negotiations) up in the air, he wanted some continuity, and it worked out well for me,” Burford said. “I will stay on through the year and then look at what’s better for the city and me.”

If he and the city agree, he might serve another year.

The city no longer contributes to PERS, Martin said. While the police chief does accrue sick leave, it cannot be exchanged for cash.

If the city hired a new chief, it would probably pay more because the city would be required to make payments to PERS, Martin said. A possible exception to the cost is length of service.

The position is on a five-step salary schedule. Based on a positive annual evaluation, the position’s salary increases annually to the fifth step.

The first step for city department heads is $5,142 per month. The fifth step is $6,250. Special certifications can increase salaries.