BARNEGAT – The attorney for the Township Committee issued a press release clarifying that the money involved in settling the chief’s retirement was part of his regular salary. The press release was sent in response to comments on news media web sites accusing the township of giving the chief a “golden parachute.”
The issue is regarding Arthur Drexler, who was placed on administrative leave without pay last year. The township believed that Drexler inappropriately awarded himself compensatory time. Drexler said that it was in his contract. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, after investigating, found that the contract was vague and Drexler was not guilty of anything criminal. As part of the settlement, he was exonerated of all charges.
As a result of this, and to prevent any long-term lawsuits between the parties, Drexler retired and received his back pay. This included $142,963.45 worth of unused sick time and vacation time. His salary upon retirement was $228,907.97, plus benefits such as vacation pay, holiday pay, and sick pay. He was also compensated for not being in the township health plan. All of these payments were moneys due Drexler as part of his regular employment, not as part of a package given out as a gift, Barnegat Township Attorney Jerry Dasti said.
“There have been numerous comments from the public which are not correct,” the press release from Dasti’s office stated.
The agreement also settled the dispute, preventing costly litigation, the release said.