BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Former Montclair Police deputy chief Tracy Frazzano has collected $87,560 since leaving the township in August to become the new chief of police in Marco Island, Fla.
Her last biweekly pay of $7,296 was collected on Feb. 7, according to township officials.
In October, Sharyn Matthews, Montclair’s human resources director said Frazzano was still on the township’s payroll collecting a biweekly salary of $7,251, using her accumulated benefit time based on her former annual salary of $185,096.
The Feb. 7 pay rate of $7,296 provided in response to Montclair Local’s most recent request reflects an annual salary of $189,713. When asked to explain the discrepancy from $185,096 to $189,713, the CFO said that Matthews was wrong.
"According to our CFO, it was an error on Sharyn Matthews' part. The $7,296.69 biweekly payment is what she's been paid all along. I apologize for the confusion," said Katya Wowk, Communications Director.
Frazzano’s position, one of two deputy chief positions in the department, remains unfilled.
After being denied by the township on Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests for the date of Frazzano’s separation or when she will come off the payroll, Montclair Local has continued to file OPRA requests with the township on Frazzano’s pay status. The amount still owed to Frazzano, and when she will be off the township payroll, is being withheld by township officials.
Although personnel records are generally exempt from public access, New Jersey OPRA law contains exceptions to that exemption. Specifically, an individual’s name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation, the reason for the separation and the amount and type of any pension received are public record.
An official at the New Jersey department of pensions and benefits said they did not have Frazzano’s accumulated benefit time recorded, stating that the township of Montclair, as the employer, should supply the amount of time she had accrued.
In most cases, accumulated sick- or benefits-time payouts are determined through a termination or separation agreement. The agreement documents financial payouts for accrued sick and vacation time not used by the employee and carried over from year to year, which are typically required to be paid by the township either in one lump sum or in installments upon the separation of the employee.
In 2010, Gov. Chris Christie signed a law capping the payouts at $15,000 for all new employees. He later vetoed a bill that would have capped all employees, old and new, at $15,000, saying he wanted the payouts to cease altogether.
Frazzano has been employed by the Montclair Police Department since Aug. 1, 1995.