Austintown mulls creating standard retirement policy

AUSTINTOWN — At Monday’s regular meeting, trustees introduced a new proposal to standardize the retirement process and policies for some of the township’s administrative officers.

Township Administrator Mark D’Apolito said Austintown expects to have completely new leadership in the zoning office, police department and fire department within the next five years.

D’Apolito said police Chief Robert Gavalier, fire Chief Andy Frost, and Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli have all said they intend to retire within that time.

“Those are policies governing their separation,” D’Apolito said. “We have a personnel manual in the works to be implemented later this year, but those three all have certain rules in their contracts and these agreements are intended to memorialize those rules.

“The township doesn’t really have an existing policy governing that. We have always just done a one-off at separation for non-union employees, so we’re trying to get something more standardized in place.”

The five-year policy requires a minimum 60-day notice of intent to sever employment. The agreement would be superseded by any retire-rehire agreement, should any of those administrators opt for such a deal.

It includes stipulations that if a successor is identified before the employee formally retires, they must help train their successor and they must be available by phone for six months after retirement to answer questions for their successor.

The policy will pay the departing employee 100% of all accrued vacation and personal time and 50% of all accrued sick time.

Crivelli, 63, has spent 29 years as a zoning inspector, beginning in Austintown, and then leaving for 10 years to do the job in Boardman, before returning in September of 2008. He said his plans are not certain yet, but he does not intend to work past 65.

Frost has been a member of the Austintown Fire Department since 1986, when he began as a part-timer. He turned full-time in 1992, was promoted to assistant chief in 2006 and has served the township as fire chief since 2012.

Frost could be the first to leave.

“It’s not for sure yet. I’m within a year of having to retire, so I’m just seeing what’s best for me.

It could be this summer,” he said. “There’s a couple factors I’m waiting on personally in my life, and those will determine whether it’s this year or next, but I have to leave in July 2025.”

Frost, 59, is in a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) through the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, an end-of-career plan that puts money into an annuity. He can remain enrolled in that plan for a maximum of eight years, which will come to a close next July.

Gavalier has been with the department since 1982 and has served as police chief since May 2005. Gavalier could not be reached for comment.

Have an interesting story? Contact Dan Pompili by email at dpompili@vindy.com.


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