Village of Dansville
Trustee calls for Police Chief’s resignation
The Dansville Village Board is openly questioning the long time practice of Police Chief Charles Perkins of paying himself cash above and beyond his salary, in lieu of taking vacation time.
Village Trustee Andrew Kershner called for Perkins’ resignation at the Oct. 12 village board meeting. In a later interview, Kershner explained his reason for doing so has less to do with the money Perkins took and more to do with the fact that Perkins was not forthright when asked how the practice came about.
Perkins was not consistent, first claiming he had permission by previous administrations to convert his unused vacation time to cash payments. He originally said he was given such authorization, but when members of those former administrations were asked to confirm Perkin’s claim, they would not.
Subsequently, in a written statement, Perkins has now denied receiving authorization.
An audit of police accounts suggested that the additional pay Perkins has received over the last eleven years totals about $44,000.
Realistically, Kershner does not see his call for the chief’s resignation being more than a symbolic gesture, since Perkins has strong support from other members of the village board.
Dansville Trustee Don Sylor rejects any thought of asking Perkins to resign.
“In my seven and a half years as trustee, there is no one that has ever worked with the village that I have more respect for professionally.” Sylor added, “Resignation would be a travesty.”
Dansville village legal counsel David Lippett has reportedly opined that the money would be difficult to retrieve unless voluntarily surrendered by Perkins.
As head of his department, Perkins is salaried and certifies his own payroll, including his own paychecks.
“We didn’t know he was getting paid for unused vacation. We assumed he was taking all of his vacation,” said Mayor Bill Dixon.
But when inquiries were actually made, earlier mayors, Michael Kane and Barry Haywood, were likewise not aware of the practice.
“The vacation was never authorized that way. You either take it or you lose it,” Dixon added.
The issue with Perkins was initially a closed session personnel matter for board discussion. It became public when, in open session, Trustee Kirk Walker proposed that the village hire a specialist attorney to advise the village’s legal options.
Trustee Kershner told The County News that, while he is concerned about the money Perkins has taken, he is more concerned that the practice be stopped. He does not want this or any future police chief to continue ‘double dipping’ from the salary budget line and taking salary which has not been budgeted for police services.
However, Kersher’s motion to explicitly ban the practice did not find majority board support. Other village board members prefer to maintain a salary moratorium which, from a theoretical legal standpoint, is keeping the door open for reclaimation of the money and/or disciplinary measures.