By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers is leaving early. But he’s not leaving empty-handed.
According to City staff, as of the end of June 2019, Sellers reports that he has a combined 3,435.3 hours of unused vacation and sick leave.
His annual salary is over $313,000. With benefits, it’s closer to $527,000.
His hourly rate is $150.813462. (Yep, lots of decimal places).
That means the City owes him a check for over $518,000. Wow. And ouch.
We hate to say we told you so. But we told you so last year. That’s when the council on a 4-3 vote allowed Sellers to spike his pension.
That looks like an extra cost to taxpayers of about $40,000 one time. And it looks like about an extra $10,000 in salary a year each year for Sellers’ retirement. Double wow. And double ouch.
Sellers is supposed to serve until December 2020 when his term expires. But he’s stepping down early on September 1, 2019.
Sellers is the only elected police chief in California. And he was one of the highest-paid chiefs of any California city.
Sellers steps down as the only police chief in Santa Clara history to get a “no confidence” vote from his troops. The morale is still low. That’s something we’ll write more about.
Sellers was also the chief when the department paid out the two biggest settlements in police department history. They totaled $8.7 million.
Those are two historic things no police chief wants on his record. Maybe it’s good for Santa Clara that Sellers is stepping down early. The police department looks like it could use a major change.
Sellers was asked for comment. But he could not, according to the department, because he was busy with preparations for his “final salute” yesterday afternoon. Sellers is scheduled to attend the council meeting tonight.
Note: City staff gave us info at the end of June. We’ve not updated since then because we’ve been busy. And we don’t want to burden City staff who are overwhelmed with PRA requests. But not from us.