Brentwood police chief to get nearly $200K as part of settlement agreement with borough
Brentwood leaders will pay the town’s police chief nearly $200,000 to retire, because an internal report alleges he mismanaged the department for years.
Chief Robert Butelli, 62, said Tuesday, however, that his departure from the department he led since 2001 is a result of “personal and political vendettas” from the council president and mayor. He alleged that they are retaliating against him for his failure to heed their demands that would be “detrimental to Brentwood.”
“Certain politicians in Brentwood believe that they are above the law and that the police department is to be used by them for their own purposes, as their own palace guards,” Butelli said. “These politicians are not monarchs; they are public servants. And yet they were willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money to satisfy their personal interests in getting rid of me.”
Money budgeted for the chief’s 2015 salary will be used for the settlement, Manager George Zboyovsky said.
Council President Marty Vickless and Mayor Dennis Troy deny Butelli’s claims.
“It’s just him trying to take the spotlight off of how he managed the department,” Vickless said. He called Butelli’s statement that Vickless asked the chief to fix a ticket “absolutely false.”
Instead, Vickless and Troy cite an investigation by former federal prosecutor Thomas Farrell, a partner at Farrell & Reisinger LLC, who reviewed the police department’s operations during the past several months. The investigation will cost Brentwood more than $45,000.
The report cites instances in which Butelli did not follow borough police procedures or Brentwood code when supervising the evidence room and tracking borough-owned property and cash. It says he mismanaged the department and failed to conduct performance evaluations of officers.
Butelli used his police vehicle, an unmarked 2010 Dodge Charger, for personal use and then “caused the filing of a false and misleading accident report” from a July crash, the report states. His contract for 2014, with a $105,726 salary, states the chief could not use the vehicle for “family use.”
Butelli said the former mayor told him he could use the car.
Butelli said Troy did “everything in his power to get rid of” the chief because he questioned an officer’s handling of a traffic stop involving Troy’s wife. The officer gave her a warning; she did not register above the legal limit on a blood-alcohol test.
Butelli asked the officer to write a detailed incident report, according to the internal investigation. Troy said his wife did nothing wrong, and Butelli sought to embarrass him over the incident. She declined to comment.
The handling of the police report was one of many issues that led to Butelli’s suspension, Troy said.
Borough leaders agreed to settle, Vickless said, so that they can move the department forward. Butelli will receive $199,998 in three payments, starting in January, and medical benefits until age 65.
Stephanie Hacke is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-388-5818 or [email protected].