Geneseo police chief retires while on paid administrative leave

GENESEO, Illinois -- In a process that has been shrouded in some secrecy, Geneseo's Police Chief has agreed to retire and leave his post while in the midst of a paid administrative leave.

Chief Tom Piotrowski was placed on administrative leave on February, 1, 2018 , with the only reason given being a "review of department practices and procedures" at the time. Members of the city administration and city government, which ordered the review, did not say what prompted the review.

That lack of transparency resulted in a packed City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, as reported by the Geneseo Republic. The newspaper reported that City Attorney Margaret Kostopulos said there were no criminal allegations regarding Piotrowski and Mayor Kathy Carroll-Duda added that the review was “not initiated by an elected official or anyone in city administration” but came from “concerns raised within the police department.”

Piotrowski offered his written resignation on Feb. 27, saying he would retire effective March 1. You can read the resignation letter below:

 

Mayor Carroll-Duda offered the following in response to the retirement letter: "Chief Piotrowski initiated discussion of his retirement prior to the conclusion of the Police Department review. The Council will vote tonight to accept his retirement and assist him in his transition."

In a lengthier statement, Carroll-Duda said she wanted to share the following facts:

  • The majority of the sworn officers in the police department came forward to the Union with concerns about the department.
  • In turn the Union directed them to take their concerns to the City
  • Brandon the HR manager, and myself were then contacted which is in accordance with our City Policy.
  • Our City Administrator was out of state at the time, in the hospital with her son who sustained a life-threatening injury prior to the concerns being brought forward and was not involved with the police officers coming forward.
  • After meeting with 3 individuals from the PD we contacted our City attorney for advice on what to do about these reports.
  • The attorney advised us on what was the best course of action to take given the concerns that were brought to our attention.
  • Brandon, myself and Margaret took this to the Council and it was determined at that point that in order to create a situation where everyone could feel comfortable being candid about department issues, it was best to place the Chief on paid leave. At the attorney’s advice, Sergeant Whittington was made acting Chief. We wanted to avoid the appearance that anyone appointed in this interim would be trying to take over the Chief’s spot, so Sgt. Whittington was appointed since he is due to retire in April.
  • Other City staff including the City Administrator, City Clerk, Sergeants, and others have been involved in gathering pertinent information needed for the Council and myself to make any decisions. They have not and will not be an influence on our decision. I will emphasize again that the driving force behind this is the Police Department itself and no one else.
  • Other than Brandon, who is our HR manager, the staff and administration has not been a part of our executive sessions, however, they have provided us with information that was needed for our executive session. The Council will deliberate on the facts given to us, the advice given by Larry Jones the investigator as well as the advice of our City attorney.Under the terms of the retirement agreement, Piotrowski will receive a compensation package for all unused, accrued benefits which is equal to $28,693.32, a retirement incentive equal to his salary until he is pension eligible on September 24, 2018 in the amount of $24,124.32,  a letter of good standing for Chief Piotrowski from the City and to direct the City’s Labor Attorney to prepare a written agreement for the parties to sign with these terms. Police Chief Piotrowski’s annual salary as of February 28, 2018 is $95,036.86.