Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan announced this week that the Police Department plans to audit overtime pay received by all members of the force following the resignation of an officer suspected of falsifying his records, The Journal News/lohud.com reports today.
Sullivan made the announcement at a Clarkstown Town Board meeting Tuesday after public comments that suggested police covered up a possible systemic problem by letting the officer, William Sherwood, resign. The need for an audit was triggered by the discovery of the alleged fraud, the police chief said.
“We had made this decision before the investigation was concluded. This is for the public trust,” Sullivan said yesterday. “We think the system did work. This was noticed immediately.”
Sherwood, an 11-year veteran of the department and the son of a former chief, earned a salary of $125,166 last year. But his total income, according to SeeThroughNY, a website run by the fiscally conservative Empire Center for New York State Policy, was $206,237.
The Police Department has among the highest salaries in the region. Members of the force have an average pay of $179,689, and seven employees were among the 20 highest paid in local government statewide. Clarkstown Capt. Anthony Ovchinnikoff made $270,824 last year. Sullivan made $253,175, making him the 12th highest paid local government employee in New York.
Sullivan said Sherwood reimbursed the department several hundred dollars for overtime that had not been worked. He said he believes the incident of improperly claiming overtime is isolated. The amount of overtime pay in the Police Department has declined in recent years, Sullivan and Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said.