Warren police chief considers 2013 retirement

By Ed Runyan



After only 21/2 years, the tenure of Warren Police Chief Tim Bowers likely will end in 17 months.

Bowers confirmed Friday that because of his participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, known as DROP, he will retire in June 2013.

“I have no desire to leave,” Bowers said. “There are lots of changes, lots of things going on, and I’d like to be part of them, but we’ll see.”

Under current conditions, Bowers said he won’t work past June 2013. But with government at all levels in “flux,” the DROP program couldchange in some way that would make it possible for him to stay.

DROP allows police officers to accumulate a large lump sum of money for retirement, about $500,000 in the case of former Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes. If they continue working after eight years, they lose that money.

Bowers said he’s provided managers within the department with classes to help them prepare for the top leadership positions, but he does have concerns.

The next highest position within the department below chief is captain, and Warren has three of them. Captains usually make more money than the chief, Bowers said.

“I took a $5,000 pay cut to become chief” in 2009, Bowers said, adding that captains and below are members of a union and receive extra pay besides their base, such as overtime and holiday pay, whereas the chief doesn’t get those.

Bowers has earned $84,370 each year since he became chief in 2009, though he also received an additional $12,000 from cashing in accrued benefits in 2011 for a total of $96,370. Bowers made $90,703 in 2008, his last year as captain.

In 2011, captains were paid a base of $76,835, but Capt. Joe Marhulik made $108,549. Overtime accounted for much of the additional money he earned, according to the Warren auditor’s office.

Bowers said he believes the high pay of a captain is one reason few of the high-ranking managers in the department wanted to be chief the last time the chief test was given in 2009.

Bowers and Lt. Cathy Spencer are the only two who took the test in 2009. Lieutenant is the step below captain.

Bowers said he and former chief John Mandopoulos both asked the city administration to make police chief the higher-paid position, but no changes were made.

Meanwhile, Friday was the last day on the job for a controversial member of the police department, Patrolman Jeff Hoolihan, who has retired.

Bowers suspended Hoolihan for 30 days without pay effective June 1, 2011, for violating departmental policies and procedures, after Hoolihan contacted a local TV reporter early last year and said the city had covered up a crime Hoolihan investigated while working as a detective in 2008.

Hoolihan, who was transferred from the detective bureau to patrol duties in early 2009, also received a written reprimand for violating the police department’s use-of-force policy by ordering brothers age 7, 9 and 10 to the ground at gunpoint in March 2010 in their backyard.

A letter went out Wednesday to one of five officers still on layoff from 2009 asking whether he was interested in returning to his job.

Bowers said 14 of the department’s 66 officers are eligible to retire by the end of 2013, leading him to believe there will be a lot of turnover in the department.

The Warren Civil Service Commission is giving a test Jan. 21 to provide an updated hiring list.

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