I-Team: Retired State Police Leaders Earn Nearly $300,000 In Unused Vacation, Sick Time

BOSTON (CBS) – The retirement of two of the top state police leaders will end up costing taxpayers nearly $300,000 for unused vacation and sick time, WBZ-TV’s I-Team has learned.

Col. Richard McKeon and Deputy Superintendent Francis Hughes retired abruptly last month after two troopers sued the State Police. The troopers were ordered to edit embarrassing details from the police report on the arrest of Alli Bibaud, whose father Timothy Bibaud is a judge in Dudley District Court.

McKeon will get a check for $161,688.26, while Hughes will be paid $130,368.84, according to state records.

Former State Police Col. Richard McKeon. (WBZ-TV)

State employees earn 15 sick days per year and there is no limit on accruals. When they retire, they can cash out 20-percent of the value.

Here are details for McKeon and Hughes:

McKeon

Vacation hours = 560.77
Vacation buyout = $67,918.23
Sick hours = 3871.08
Sick buyout = $93,770.03

Total = $161,688.26

Hughes

Vacation hours = 534.77
Vacation buyout = $60,132.96
Sick hours = 3123.08
Sick buyout = $70,235.88

Total = $130,368.84

Gov. Charlie Baker has pushed for a cap of 1,000 hours, which is about six months of work, on the amount of accrued sick time for state employees. However, according to the governor’s office, current employees who had already accrued more than 1,000 hours of sick leave would have been able to keep them.

Baker included the sick time reform in his latest budget proposal, but it was not included in the final budget from the Conference Committee.

“I’m very disappointed that we haven’t done anything to change it,” Rep. Colleen Garry told WBZ-TV.

The Democratic lawmaker from Dracut recently proposed limiting retirement payouts to 15-percent of a state employee’s salary. However, Garry said there was strong resistance from unions, who argued the reforms would hurt rank-and-file workers who do not receive such large payouts.

Garry believes state employees should be paid more competitive salaries instead of cashing out big checks when they retire.

“It’s called public service for a reason,” she said. “I don’t know why anyone would hold onto that many sick days, except to get a golden parachute at the end. And that’s not fair to the taxpayers.”

Two other state employees who received payouts of more than $100,000 in fiscal 2017 also worked for the State Police.

Edward Amodeo received a check for $115,912 – $65,698 for unused sick time and $50,214 for unused vacation time.

Anthony E. Thomas was paid a total of $109,489 – $62,975 for the sick time and $46,514 for vacation.

McKeon and Hughes are also both due for large annual pensions in addition to their sick time payouts.

Deputy Superintendent Francis Hughes (Photo Courtesy: Mass State Police)

Nothing has been finalized yet, but the amount will be more than $150,000 per year for each of them, based on their final salaries.

McKeon was making about $251,000 and Hughes’s salary was $234,000.

Meanwhile, former Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke is heading up the investigation into the police report scandal.

WBZ-TV’s Ryan Kath contributed to this report.

He can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.