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Tampa Police Chief To Stay On Job For Three Years After 'Retirement'

Tampa Florida’s police chief is set to retire in six months, but the mayor doesn’t plan on letting him go. The city would allow Lee Bercaw, a 28-year veteran on the force, to be hired back by the city as a contractor to continue serving as chief after he retires in September, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The maneuver would allow him to cash in on an annual pension payment worth at least $96,000 while continuing to collect one of the largest paychecks in city government. The proposal, which includes a double-digit pay raise, is set to go before the City Council this week. He would earn a $241,000 salary per year plus benefits such as annual leave, health insurance and sick pay. He also would be entitled to pay bumps associated with annual performance reviews and for cost-of living increases applicable to other employees.

Bercaw would continue to head the department of roughly 1,000 sworn officers for at least another three years.

The agreement was approved by Mayor Jane Castor., a former Tampa police chief who has known Bercaw for decades. Castor said she stands “firmly in support” of Bercaw remaining in his role as his retirement date approaches to “maintain the department’s strong momentum and stability.” Castor earns about $180,000 as mayor while also receiving a police pension worth more than $118,000 a year. Bercaw became interim chief in December 2022 following the departure of Mary O’Connor, who resigned at the mayor’s request after just 10 months on the job. An internal investigation found O’Connor violated department policies by flashing her badge during a traffic stop while riding in a golf cart, asking a deputy to let her and her husband go. The incident made national headlines.


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