The Township Committee will discuss Thursday in executive session how to proceed following police Chief William Nally’s impending retirement.
After serving the Lacey Township Police Department for nearly 28 years, Nally, 49, announced his retirement in a Nov. 19 letter to Township Administrator and Municipal Clerk Veronica Laureigh.
Nally’s retirement will be effective Monday, Dec. 31, although he is currently on scheduled leave and may be until then, Laureigh said. Although Nally is technically on leave, he has still been in and out of the police department to complete administrative work.
“He’s still the boss,” Laureigh said.
The committee has yet to discuss potential options moving forward, Mayor Mark Dykoff said, and will do so Thursday.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.
The committee will consider options such as a new chief of police, a public safety director, restructuring and even shared services, he said. The township also will be looking into how other towns run their police departments.
A decision may not be made by the township’s reorganization meeting on Jan. 1.
“We want to make a decision as soon as possible but we’re not in rush. We want to make the right decision for the township,” he said.
The township would like to hire more police officers, he said, which may also be considered once Nally retires.
“We have to look at the budget,” he said. “It’s going to be a difficult year because of the storm and the costs incurred. We have to see how much money we have.”
If the township decides to appoint a new chief of police, potential candidates —qualified sergeants, lieutenants and captains — would take a civil service exam, Laureigh said.
Based on the test, the Township Committee would choose to appoint a chief from the three candidates with the highest scores, she said.
From those three, the committee can conduct interviews, selecting the best for the position, she said. The committee must be able to justify why the other two candidates was not selected.
To hire a public safety director, the township would have to create the position by passing an ordinance, she said. The township would then advertise for the position and conduct interviews.
“It depends what the committee is in favor of,” committeeman and police liaison Gary Quinn said.
If the committee was interested in hiring a public safety director, it would consider someone with a law enforcement background, such as from the New Jersey State Police, he said.
According to Chief Financial Officer Adrian Fanning, Nally’s final salary for 2012 is $135,489. His longevity pay for the year will total $13,449 and holiday pay $9,172. His health benefits for 2012 cost $20,637, of which he contributes $3,870.
Laureigh will not know the official payout of vacation or sick time until after Dec. 31, she said. Nally could qualify for up to $20,000 in unused sick time.
The state will certify his pension, she said.
Prosecutor’s Office Probe
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that Nally was the subject of a recent investigation conducted by its office.
The focus of the investigation and its outcome could not be discerned, as the Prosecutor’s Office declined comment and denied requests for records that could be related to the investigation.
Dykoff did not confirm the investigation when asked in November, although he did so with another area newspaper. But he did say, “Public officials are often subjected to accusations that prove to be unfounded.”
Dykoff could not say whether the investigation was ongoing.
Laureigh’s offices had no part in the investigation and had no communication with the prosecutor’s office regarding an investigation, she said.
“No one contacted my offices for files or documents or questioning,” she said.
Nally has been eligible for retirement for three years, Dykoff previously said.
He had been considering retirement for several years, although the abrupt decision did catch Quinn by surprise, he said.
“I never got any calls from the prosecutors office or Attorney General’s Office regarding the chief,” Quinn said. “There are a lot of rumors out there. I don’t even know what’s true or not true. I’m not aware of an investigation myself.”
Nally did not return requests for comment.