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New Bainbridge police chief offered 5-year contract

The city of Bainbridge Island has offered its next police chief a five-year employment contract.

Matthew Hamner, a longtime law enforcement officer who has been working for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department since 1990, was the final choice for Bainbridge's next chief out of a field of more than 50 applicants. City Manager Doug Schulze announced in early April that Hamner was his top pick, and the city and Hamner have since negotiated an employment contract.

Now, his official start with the city is just a few signatures away.

The contract puts Hamner's first day as June 10.

His starting salary has been set at $144,192 annually, according to the agreement.

It's a bit more than the city's last chief was paid. Jon Fehlman, the former Bainbridge police chief who resigned in September, was paid an annual salary of $138,324, not including benefits.

The proposed contract also includes ample benefits.

Hamner will be eligible for any cost-of-living adjustments that other city managers receive.

According to the proposed contract, Hamner will be reimbursed up to $15,000 for moving expenses, and Hamner and his wife will also be paid up to $3,500 for travel, meal and lodging expenses during trips that the new chief and his spouse make to find housing on Bainbridge Island.

Other aspects of the contract include medical benefits with 95 percent of the premiums covered by the city (and 85 percent of premiums for his spouse and children covered); term life insurance for $300,000 paid for by the city; the use of a police department vehicle; a smart phone; and reimbursement for business expenses.

The contract also includes retirement benefits under the Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters Plan of Washington, commonly known as LEOFF, as well as an additional retirement account set up as an Internal Revenue Service Section 457 plan. The 457 plan is similar to a 401(k) retirement plan, but is different in that there is no penalty for early withdrawal of funds.

Under the proposed contract, the city will pay 4 percent of Hamner's annual salary, roughly $5,700, into his 457 plan.

The contract also includes a severance package if Hamner is fired by the city manager without cause.

If the new chief is terminated within the first year of the contract, he will receive a full year's salary.

If Hamner is discharged without cause in his second year, he will receive six months' worth of pay. And if he is fired during the third, fourth or fifth year of employment, the contract dictates a settlement package of three months of salary.

The agreement also contains conditions that any severance is subject to an agreement by the new hire to not sue the city after his separation, and not to say or write anything that would be "harmful to the reputation of the city or any elected or unelected official or employee of the city."

Also, if Hamner is terminated in any way that damages his professional reputation, he will be given "an opportunity for a public name-clearing with the city manager and city council."

 

 

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