Chief Eib’s retirement

plans announced in S.R.

Borough Council is expected to vote on the package March 15

By Jennifer micale

SOUTH RIVER — By early April, South River Police Chief Francis X. Eib should be embarking on his new life as a retiree.

Last week, the Borough Council ended several months of negotiation after agreeing upon a retirement plan for the chief, who announced his intended retirement last summer. According to the agreement, crafted by Eib’s attorney, Robert Brown of Old Bridge, the chief will receive a one-day payment for each two-days of accumulated sick time, an 8 percent increase in his $67,000 salary for longevity for both 1999 and 2000, and 6 percent pay increases for both 1999 and 2000, as well as health insurance and prescription plans.

In the agreement, the chief will also be compensated by the borough if he is called to testify on any litigation relating to his position as chief of police. He will also retain his chief’s badge and police identification during his retirement, which is slated to begin on Oct. 1.

Eib, who has spent the past decade as chief and more than 37 years on the force, will be leaving sooner than his official retirement date, however. On April 3, the chief will begin using his accumulated vacation and personal days, taking 74 days of terminal leave once that is exhausted. Council members should vote on the plan at their meeting next Wednesday.

While opposed to the contract, Councilman David Sliker praised Eib’s service to the community, such as his work for the victims of domestic violence, which has received recognition from the state. However, Sliker fears that the chief’s retirement package may set a costly precedent for other borough employees eyeing retirement.

"It goes above and beyond the amount the ordinance allows for administrators," he explained, adding that four borough employees will retire shortly.

"They can ask for the same package," he explained.

Sliker noted that two attorneys were hired to negotiate this contract, which came together within a two-day period. The attorneys advised that the council not vote on the matter at this time due to several concerns, he said.

One of those involves sick time compensation. Under the current ordinance, employees are compensated for one out of every six sick days upon retirement; Eib, on the other hand, will receive one for two. Sliker also noted that the longevity increase is half a point higher than what is currently allowed.

"We’re looking to be fair to the chief and to all our employees," he said. "This is going to have serious impact."

Overall, however, council members wished the best for the longtime chief in his future.

"It’s something he’s wanted for a long time," noted Councilman Shawn Hausser-mann, adding that the chief has personal business that he needs to attend to. "I’m glad we were finally able to resolve it. Now we have new challenges."

The challenge emanates from the change of leadership, left undetermined after an ordinance establishing the position of police director was rescinded last month. When Eib goes on leave, Capt. Wesley Bomba, a 32-year veteran of the force who has just returned from a year-long suspension, will become acting chief. Whether Bomba will eventually assume the top spot is still unknown.

At previous meetings, Councilman Salvatore Marsicano asked the borough attorney to look into changing the ordinance governing succession in the police department, which he described as "vague." Marsicano hopes that lieutenants, currently out of the running, may also be considered for the position, giving the borough a wider pool from which to choose.