Police Chief Mike Sellers Steps Down Early, Will Cash Out Over $500,000 in Vacation/Sick Leave Pay

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. 

As police chief, Sellers did not have a good legacy. He was even publicly asked to resign by the Mercury News

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. 


  1. I am happy that I don’t live in Santa Clara, with the corrupt city council and the crooked police chief. Hope you enjoy paying a spiked up pension for the crook.

  2. With all the union benefits, it turns most officers into business units. It’s all about building your retirement amount.
    At least he didn’t go out on disability.

    • The City Council knows no limits when it comes to giving generous perks to themselves and higher ranking employees. Really, do we need both a mayor and a City Manager?? Most of the cities in the
      US do fine with just a mayor. Does the hiring of a City Manager mean that the Mayor is incompetent and can’t handle the work, or have much more time off?

    • City council gets perks? Really, Manny? Like what? I don’t know too many people wanting to take on those jobs because they see how hard the council works and gets about 25 cents an hour. Ridiculous comment. If you don’t like the structure, change the charter. Ha! Ha!

    • Actually you might want to educate yourself. And to basically call police officers under educated is slap in their face. The reality is the police and firefighters in California are overpaid. A lot of them are literally making more than medical doctors. Since 2001 salaries and pensions have gotten out of control. That is why departments are not fully staffed. They cannot afford to hire staff due to unsustainable salaries and benefit packages. Hence the huge overtime the pay each year. I’ll be the first to say they both deserve a good pension and a good salary, but what they have now just isn’t sustainable.

    • While I am no fan of Sellers, I can easily say you have no idea what you are talking about. None. Educate yourself just minimally and you will find out how ridiculously juvenile and short sighted you sound.

      BTW, everyone who thinks these guys are over paid or have too many benefits needs to remember that you are going to get what you pay for. There are plenty of examples out there why this guys logic is shortsighted and dooms us to third world policing.

      You want uneducated, unsophisticated, unprofessional and corrupt cops? Cut the benefits (done), cut the retirement (done), eliminate protections for JUST DOING THIER JOB DEFENDING THEMSELVES AND US (done). And of course, make low level crime essentially consequence free (done) along with releasing felons from prison (done).

      And you expect young people with college degrees to take up the thankless/ high personal risk job of police work?!! Its impossible to staff the force now. Literally. When was the last time the PD was fully staffed? Let me answer that…….decades. Now thanks to all of the above the only way to attract future cops is to…..wait for it…..LOWER THE STANDARDS! Those will be the people you will be choosing from. Good luck with that. And don’t forget, every police department is looking for the same people.

      You, the voters have done this with your votes. Yet you now complain? You say its too much? Too expensive? They don’t deserve it? Really? Ever been on a ride along? Try it. You will change your mind.

      Someone please explain where these people are going to come from? Who is going to take the job? The risk? ESPECIALLY HERE IN THIS VALLEY!! Why would an educated person do that job when they can go anywhere around here and make more WITHOUT ANY RISK AT ALL! None.

      Santa Clara, and all the Bay Area for that matter, can afford to pay for excellent cops. They can afford to pay for excellent training, excellent equipment, excellent facilities and excellent people.

      If this city is what they claim to be then they can step up and provide their citizens with the best public safety.

    • SCPD is responsible for providing citizens with best public safety. That’s what the City pays the big bucks for. At least the City is getting a good ROI with the City Manager. The next Chief better be prepared. What are they doing with all that money Kansen Chu gave to them?

Leave a Reply