Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Alli still has department gear, cell phone line
Police are going through records to see who else left and stayed on the payroll.
YOUNGSTOWN As of Monday, Rick Alli still had most of his Youngstown Police Department equipment and his voice-mail message was still on his YPD cell phone.
It's been nearly four months since Attorney General Marc Dann hired Alli as chief of law enforcement operations, based in Columbus, with an annual salary of $118,000, more than double his salary as a detective sergeant.
Dann fired Alli last week after confirming the former YPD public information officer had been double dipping drawing checks from YPD for unused vacation and accumulated time and paychecks from the AG's office. The Ohio Ethics Commission is investigating the matter at Dann's request.
A call to Alli's YPD cell phone Monday showed the service was still active and carried this message: "This is Rick Alli, public information officer for Youngstown Police Department. I am away from my phone or on the other line. If I don't get back to you within the next hour, please try again."
Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said the department is in the process of reassigning the cell phone. The chief acknowledged that Alli kept the cell phone after leaving YPD, but doubted he used it much. The chief declined to say when it was returned.
Still has equipment
Lt. Rod Foley, commander of the YPD Internal Affairs Division, said Alli didn't turn in any of his police-issued equipment gun, handcuffs, ID and so forth when he left to take the job with Dann in Columbus. Officers can buy their weapon for $1 when they leave, Foley said.
Detective William Blanchard, YPD fiscal officer, said he collected Alli's city computer.
"We took his [YPD] car from his driveway maybe two or three weeks after he left" in January for Columbus, Foley said. The car was reassigned to Detective Sgt. Jose Morales, an internal affairs investigator.
Foley and Morales didn't know the disposition of Alli's cell phone. They said it wasn't collected by them.
"We didn't get [Alli's] resignation letter so we haven't picked up his equipment yet," Foley said. "Technically, he's still a police officer here."
Hughes was asked if he had talked to Alli and if the chief expected him to come in this week to resign. "I'm not really commenting on when I talked to Rick and when I didn't," the chief said.
Alli could not be reached.
Foley said he would expect to see Alli come in this week and clarify what he is going to do. "We'll take his equipment now until it's all sorted out by the law department," Foley said.
Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello has said if Alli shows up at YPD expecting to reclaim his job he would be put on administrative leave pending a review of whether the city has grounds to terminate him. The possibility of a criminal charge is part of the investigation, she added.
Foley said he knew Alli had stayed on the payroll to run out his accumulated and vacation time, adding it's a past practice. "He's off the books this week."
By staying on the payroll, Alli earned more sick and accumulated time, roughly $2,700, but whether that will be paid is uncertain. He was also paid $434 for two holidays. His unused sick time, around $25,000, has not yet been paid.
Blanchard, too, said past practice has allowed employees who resign/retire to continue to collect their money until their accumulated time and vacation runs out. He said police are going through records this week to determine which employees left and strung out their time, as Alli did, while being employed elsewhere.
Blanchard said there have been such situations of being paid by two employers, but those searching the records this week may have to rely on personal memory of which officers left and took another job.
He said they also may find letters in personnel files that addresses the subject, such as someone noting they were leaving to work elsewhere.
He wondered if the police department even had a right to ask, "Are you going to another job?" With Alli's situation, the new job was high profile so everyone knew where he was going, the fiscal officer said.
Still signing time sheets
Hughes' secretary, Janet Johnson, said Monday that she has been entering Alli's pay via computer after receiving the information from Capt. Dave Williams, staff supervisor. Williams could not be reached Monday.
The YPD payroll clerk, Ruby Tomko, said she takes payroll entries compiled by the various turns, called electronic roll call, and transfers them to handwritten time sheets. The time sheets then go to Hughes for his signature.
Tomko said she picks up the sheets after Hughes signs them, makes a copy for her files, and then sends the sheets to the finance department for computer entry. The finance department then issues the checks.
Hughes has been signing Alli's time sheets. He, too, said the procedure of allowing an employee to exhaust his vacation, and accumulated time by staying on the payroll, rather than taking a lump sum, has been past practice.